Conservationists welcome opportunity to serve on Colorado’s Wolf Management Working Group

For Immediate Release
For More Information Contact:

Rob Edward (303) 447-8655 ext 2#
Tina Arapkiles (303) 807-1159

DENVER – The Colorado Division of Wildlife announced its appointments to the newly formed working group that will be tasked with developing a plan for the eventual return of wolves to Colorado’s high country. The 23 member group comes from a variety of economic sectors and viewpoints, including sportsmen, livestock producers, conservationists, and local government representatives. The group includes:

Conservationists: Rob Edward, Mark Pearson, Dyanne Singler, Gary Wocker

Livestock producers: Robert Bray, Bonnie Kline, Duke Phillips, Jean Stetson

Sportsmen: Michael Bond, Dick Steele

Biologists: Del Benson, Anne Ruggles

“The conservation community stands ready to meet this important challenge,” said Rob Edward of Sinapu and the Southern Rockies Wolf Restoration Project. Edward will join three other conservationists on the working group. “The decisions this group makes will profoundly impact the future of Colorado’s wild places, and we will strive to ensure that those impacts are positive.”

Although some livestock producers argue that wolves have no place in Colorado, conservationists contend that science shows otherwise. “Colorado and the rest of the Southern Rockies represent a tremendous opportunity to restore wolves,” said Tina Arapkiles of the Sierra Club and co-director of the Southern Rockies Wolf Restoration Project along with Edward. In particular, a report published in the Journal of Conservation Biology in 2003 concluded that the region could support nearly 1,000 wolves.

Conservationists say that restoring wolves to Southern Rocky Mountains is far more than a romantic endeavor. Scientific information from Yellowstone National Park now indicates that, in less than a decade, the mere presence of wolves has caused dramatic changes in vegetation and species diversity, including an increase in beavers and thus in important wetland habitat. Arapkiles, a mother of two young girls, said, “I feel an obligation to my kids and their future children to do all I can to ensure that wolves again roam throughout the Southern Rockies.”

As the working group gets underway with their task, Edward said that he and his colleagues look forward to a thoughtful discussion with other members of the group that may have a different perspective. “We expect some friction,” said Edward, “but reasonable people should be able to work through the rough spots. If we stay focused on what science has to say on the subject, the fear and misunderstanding of wolves should become less of an issue.”

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