States won't give Colorado wolves
Colorado’s deadline to reintroduce wolves is looming, but so far, state wildlife officials don’t know where to get them. The reintroduction directive is a result of a voter-approved ballot and a 2023 deadline.
“We are working so hard to make this happen,” said Dan Gibbs, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, who noted that they “are on schedule to meet our obligation to restore and manage gray wolves.”
The draft wolf reintroduction plan includes sourcing wolves from Idaho, Wyoming and Montana; however, that’s where it gets a bit tricky. In fact, language within the plan states that "[s]pecific agreements regarding donor populations have been discussed with these three states but final agreements have not yet been concluded."
But that doesn’t seem to be true.
“We have not been and are not in conversations about moving wolves to another state. To be clear, we have not talked and are not talking to Colorado about moving wolves,” said Greg Lemon, a spokesperson for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Idaho noted that “the states have not had any formal conversations” and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon is against Colorado’s reintroduction effort, which means that they don’t plan on relocating any wolves to the Centennial State. Period.
“Our current wolf management plan is working, and it works because it is designed to manage wolves in biologically and socially suitable habitats and to keep wolves out of areas of the state where conflicts would be highest,” said Gordon. “Our border with Colorado is an unsuitable area for wolves, and that would mean more human conflicts. Resolution of conflicts are almost always deadly to wolves.”
Oregon and Washington are suggested as possible alternatives though no formal discussions have occurred, according to Channel 9 News. The same goes for Utah.
“There are currently no established wolf packs in Utah, which would likely not make us a viable candidate for providing wolves,” said a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesperson. “Also, as we have stated previously, we have concerns about the reintroduction of wolves in Colorado for a variety of reasons, and therefore, would not be supportive of providing wolves for those reintroduction efforts.”
With final approval of the wolf management plan by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission expected today, May 3, where does that leave the state and its reintroduction effort?
Stay tuned to GOHUNT for further updates.