Wolf reintroduction still divisive as hearings continue

People from both sides of the wolf reintroduction argument took issue with aspects of CPW's plan during a hearing Wednesday.
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 12:35 PM MST
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GUNNISON, Colo. (KKCO) - While the majority of the state voted to reintroduce Gray Wolves to Colorado, opinions on the Western Slope are far from unified.

Thirty to 50 Gray Wolves from the northern Rocky Mountains will be moved to Colorado’s Western Slope no later than the end of this year. Those who testified during the hearing from both the pro-and-anti-reintroduction sides of the argument pointed out problems they had with the plan.

At issue was the state’s preliminary wolf reintroduction plan, which covers everything from the number of wolves to reimbursement for ranchers who lose livestock to wolf predation.

Wolf advocates pushed back against any preliminary plans to allow Gray Wolf hunting after they are reintroduced at the end of this year. Colorado resident Rhonda Derhan said, “We the people of Colorado were exceedingly clear: Wolves are a non-game species now and forever. Period.”

Others voiced frustration and fear at the possibility their ranches could be negatively impacted. Colorado rancher Jason Peterson said, “We do this not for the profits, the profit margins are thin to begin with. All mitigation, adding riders, et cetera, will come closer to putting us out of business.”

The next hearing is set for February 7, in Rifle, Colo.