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Coloradans speak out in last public comment meeting for wolf reintroduction plan

Wolf Population Idaho
Posted at 5:43 PM, Feb 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-22 20:24:11-05

DENVER — Colorado Parks and Wildlife hosted their fifth and final commission meeting regarding the wolf reintroduction plan Wednesday, in which the public can provide input.

The plan was officially released to the public in December, which detailed the state's plan to capture between 30 and 50 wolves from other states over the next 3 to 5 years and gradually release them in the West Slope area.

This comes after reintroduction efforts were mandated by Proposition 114, which was narrowly passed by voters in 2020.

"The rate of which we'll be reintroducing is about 10 to 15 wolves per year on the landscape," Travis Duncan, a spokesman for CPW said.

The plan also authorizes downlisting wolves from a state endangered species as populations continue to grow. The plan states, "Wolves may be reclassified as a game species in Phase 4. Necessarily, this phase can only be framed in general terms at this time because forecasting the details of this future is impossible using currently available information."

Denver metro resident Jeremy Nichols spoke in favor of the plan at the meeting, but told Denver7 he takes issue with the prospect that downlisting the wolves is a possibility.

"As an endangered species you can't kill a wolf, it's illegal," Nichols said. "There are consequences for that. If you change that designation, the consequences go away ... My concern is that we may incentivize indiscriminate killing."

Others like Gunnison County rancher Shane Cox also want revisions to the plan.

As it stands, the state will compensate up to a maximum of $8,000 per animal that is killed. Cox is hoping for more.

"That doesn't suffice for some animals that are more than that. Plus the stress — if we don't have calves coming ... cows are in turmoil chasing around, then the production rates may go down," Cox said.

CPW has until April to make changes to the plan with a final vote to follow in May.

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