Colorado wildlife and the question of introducing wolves
Re: “Parks & Wildlife should welcome wolves,” Jan. 13 guest commentary.
Taylor Jones identifies hunters as the “narrow range” interest group that imposes its biases upon state wildlife agencies purely because of the money it generates from the sale of hunting licenses. Not true.
Across North America, through their dollars donated, fundraising efforts and volunteerism, hunters have helped to conserve, restore and enhance exponentially more land on behalf of wildlife than any other group.
Since 1937, Ducks Unlimited has restored and conserved more than 13 million acres. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has conserved more than 772,000 acres.
To say hunters oppose “the vast majority of us who value keeping wildlife alive” is wildly inaccurate and unfair. Wolves prey on deer and elk, and they do it at their own pace. They aren’t issued a limited number of licenses each year to kill, nor are they confined to one area. They can’t be readily regulated to ensure properly maintained big-game populations.
If introduced, wolves will thrive here and they will have a large impact on Colorado’s resident deer and elk. State wildlife agencies don’t just care about the money, they listen to what hunters have to say because hunters truly care about proper wildlife management.
Tyler Pearce, Carbondale
I want to thank Taylor Jones for making the one point I have been trying to explain to all who will listen to me: Colorado needs wolves. Before the gray wolf was reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1994, the elk population was conservatively estimated at about 20,000. Twenty years later, after the gray wolf reintroduction, the elk herd population is now around 5,000 to 6,000, which is much closer to historic levels, and there is a more balanced ecosystem in Yellowstone Park.
Colorado has one of the largest elk populations in the world. According to the 2014 population estimates by Colorado Parks & Wildlife, there are approximately 279,000 elk in the state of Colorado. The beautiful natural habitat of Colorado is in dire need of predators to save it from overpopulation of deer and elk, and there is none better suited to do that than the gray wolf.
Alex Marks, Evergreen
Colorado’s wildlife commission decided last week to oppose the release of Mexican and gray wolves in the state.