You did it! Colorado has “paws on the ground!” The journey to get here has been challenging, and the Endangered Species Coalition has been there each step of the way to organize, advocate, and take action to build support for the return of these beautiful animals. This week, that work paid off when Colorado Parks and Wildlife released five beautiful wolves from Oregon into the mountains of western Colorado. While the journey is over for these five, we are just getting started in our work to ensure that wolves thrive in Colorado.
Colorado voters approved the reintroduction of gray wolves in 2020–beginning the process of righting the wrong of nearly driving them into extinction in Colorado and the lower 48. The state’s wildlife agency is bringing wolves from Oregon to Colorado to be released in areas that they have identified as most likely to allow them to thrive.
That’s the good news. But there are already threats to this success. This month, despite years of work, a group of ranchers and special interests filed lawsuits to block the release of wolves in Colorado. We have also seen an uptick in the spread of lies and harmful myths about wolves in the news and on social media. And, there have already been threats to kill the wolves through poaching.
Sadly, wolves that made their way to Colorado on their own have already been killed by hunters after being lured across the invisible state border into Wyoming. A recent investigation1 found that hunters used electronic calls to lure wolves from Colorado and slaughtered them when they crossed the border.
A wolf from the first breeding pack in Colorado was killed this year after wandering into Wyoming.2 Wolves don’t know boundaries. We saw that tragically around Yellowstone when wolves were lured to their death in Montana. And now we are seeing it on the Colorado border with Wyoming where wolves lack Endangered Species Act protections.
While we celebrate “paws on the ground,” we absolutely must be vigilant and ready to safeguard this new population of wolves in Colorado. Your year-end gift today will support this work and if you give before midnight on the 31st, a generous donor will match it dollar for dollar.
Thank you for your commitment to wildlife and wild places.
Photos credit Colorado Parks & Wildlife