‘The plan calls for 10 to 15 wolves per year to be introduced in Colorado for the next 3 to 5 years’: Inside CPW’s proposal

After a measure on the 2020 ballot passed by a narrow margin, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been working on a plan to re-introduce gray wolves to the state.
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 10:48 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:56 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - After a measure on the 2020 ballot passed by a narrow margin, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been working on a plan to re-introduce gray wolves to the state.

“The plan calls for 10 to 15 wolves per year to be introduced in Colorado for the next 3 to 5 years.”

Travis Duncan with Colorado Parks and Wildlife spoke to me about the nearly 300 page draft plan, which outlines how, when, and where wolves will be re-introduced to the state.

Colorado is part of the gray wolf’s natural range, but they were hunted completely out of the state by 1940. Since then, they have been re-introduced to the northern Rockies, and some of them have made their way down. Gray wolves are still listed as an endangered species within Colorado, but CPW’s plan aims to change that.

“We feel like that rate will be a good rate accomplish our goal of getting wolves off the endangered species list and becoming state managed.”

The plan acknowledges that re-introducing wolves will have both positive and negative effects. Advocates tell me that wolves will create more movement of prey within their ecosystem which will benefit plant life. Critics argue that wolves are dangerous to livestock and ranchers.

“We do feel like we got a good plan that does provide compensation for any renters who do suffer livestock losses.”

CPW states within the plan that they will provide ranchers with devices meant to deter wolves. They also outline how they will compensate ranchers up to $8,000 for every animal lost to wolves.

The plan identifies two areas within Colorado that are ideal for wolf re-introduction. The first is along the I-70 corridor between Glenwood Springs and Vail. The second is along the Highway 50 corridor in an area that stretches from East on Gunnison to Montrose. These areas were chosen because they are an appropriate distance from both neighboring states and tribal lands. This will ensure that the wolves remain in Colorado as they are known to travel for dozens of miles after being re-located.

The first public hearing on the measure will be held Thursday morning at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort at 8:30. CPW will hear public comment at five separate hearings through February before finalizing its plan.