Commissioners oppose introduction of gray wolves

Board believes effort will negatively impact livestock production

Staff report
Posted 12/24/19

The impact that wolves could have on the Elbert County community was a primary reason the county commissioners passed a resolution opposing the purposeful introduction of gray wolves into Colorado. …

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Commissioners oppose introduction of gray wolves

Board believes effort will negatively impact livestock production

Posted

The impact that wolves could have on the Elbert County community was a primary reason the county commissioners passed a resolution opposing the purposeful introduction of gray wolves into Colorado.

The commissioners voted Dec. 11 to approve the resolution, which follows the submission of more than 200,000 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office by wolf supporters who wish to add the issue to the 2020 ballot. If successful, Colorado would be the first state where voters decide whether to reintroduce the wolves.

The opposition comes from the county's commitment to the safety and well-being of its residents, according to a news release. Livestock production is a primary agricultural industry critical to the economy of Elbert County and the livelihood of its residents, the release said.

Elbert County supports the Colorado Farm Bureau, Douglas/Elbert Livestock Association, R-CALF and others actively engaged in environmental and wild game conservation and agricultural production who also oppose the introduction of gray wolves in the state.

“We urge citizens to thoroughly research the issue and decline to sign any petition that would place Initiative 107 on the 2020 general election ballot,” Elbert Board of County Commissioners Chair Chris Richardson said in the release. “We stand with other Colorado counties who have already expressed their opposition for this measure, knowing that it could have major consequences to the state's agricultural and gaming industries.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a management plan for wolves that naturally come into the state, but are among the organizations that oppose this measure. If passed, Colorado Parks and Wildlife would be mandated to fund the management of the gray wolf population, potentially taking money from the management of other species or reducing their overall parks fund.

In states where wolves have been reintroduced, incidents of attacks on game animals, livestock, and pets are regularly recorded, the release said. The county commissioners requested that, if the ballot measure passes, the Legislature ensure funding to offset the negative impact on livestock, wildlife management and hunting, the release said.

Elbert County recognizes that gray wolves will eventually enter Colorado naturally over time; however, the county does not support the efforts to artificially accelerate the introduction of the species in Colorado, the release said.

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