Conservationists Hail Commission Ruling for Wolves; Decision called a “good first step”

For Immediate Release

For More Information Contact:
Rob Edward * Sinapu * 303.817.4482
Mark Pearson *San Juan Citizens Alliance * 970.946.9498
Dyanne Singler * National Wildlife Federation * 720.320.6258 Cell

Avon, CO. Sinapu, the National Wildlife Federation and the San Juan Citizen’s Alliance today hailed as an incremental victory a unanimous decision by the Colorado Wildlife Commission to allow wolves to roam Colorado freely. The decision comes in response to the recommendations of a diverse “working group” of citizens that included ranchers, hunters, conservationists and biologists.

“This decision is remarkable, and it cracks the door for wolves that might wander into the state on their own” said Rob Edward of Sinapu. Although clearly enthusiastic about the decision, Edward cautioned that much more remains to be done to ensure that wolves again roam Colorado’s high country in meaningful numbers. “We’ve cracked the door,” said Edward, “but we must open it wide to ensure that we’ve met our obligation as stewards.”

“I’m proud of the ranchers, hunters and other conservationists on this group,” said Dyanne Singler of the National Wildlife Federation, who along with Edward served as part of the working group. “Now, this group needs to press-on with developing a recovery plan for wolves in Colorado.”

Singler and Edward both emphasized the fact that the working group recommendations were reached by full consensus, and that such a hard-earned consensus reflects the power of the group to tackle the thorny issue of wolf reintroduction. “This is how endangered species stewardship should look,” said Singler.

Gary Wockner, a wildlife ecologist and conservationist on the Group, said, “It has been an extraordinary pleasure to help Colorado address this issue with a collaborative approach. I, and the other conservationists, stand ready to continue collaborating as Colorado takes the next step towards wolf recovery.”

Through their actions, the Colorado Wildlife Commission transformed the working group recommendations into an official management plan that will guide state wildlife policy. In addition to allowing wolves to roam Colorado freely, the plan mandates that wolves that prey on livestock be dealt with incrementally, and that ranchers be fairly compensated for their losses.

Mark Pearson of the San Juan Citizen’s Alliance and also a member of the working group noted that scientific evidence suggests that wolves will need to be reintroduced to ensure their sustained presence in the state. “Science tells us there’s plenty of excellent habitat for wolves in Colorado,” said Pearson. “The Colorado Division of Wildlife should now empower this group to ensure that all of that great habitat plays host to wolves.”

The Division of Wildlife has yet to make a definitive decision regarding reengaging the working group to explore reintroduction.

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