While most of America was paying attention to the messy madness surrounding the presidential elections, environmentalists in Colorado were quietly celebrating a little victory: the passing of Proposition 114, which tasks Colorado Parks and Wildlife with crafting a plan to reintroduce wolves to the state by 2023.
Not everyone was happy with the passing of the measure. According to the Denver Post, a predominantly rural opposition led by elk hunters, farmers, and cattle ranchers lamented it as a “bad policy,” arguing that the return of wolves could damage rural economies that are based on livestock and hunting. Wolf supporters, however, celebrated what they saw as the start of a wildlife management shift away from prioritizing hunting and agricultural interests toward a holistic re-balancing of ecosystems by restoring a predator.
Additionally, advocates who have pushed to introduce and protect wolves in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, and Arizona argue that Colorado is a final step in a 40-year effort to return wolf populations that were hunted into extinction in the 1920s.
The decision to reintroduce wolves to Colorado comes just a week after the White House made the head-scratching decision to scrap the protection of gray wolf populations under the Endangered Specials Act, which has protected the canines since 1978.