Colorado voter narrowly voted in proposition 114, which mandates that Colorado Fish and WIldlife come up with a plan to reintroduce wolves into the state.
According to the Hill, the proposition narrowly passed with 50.5% for and 49.5 against. The opposition to the 114 admitted defeat on Thursday as most of the uncounted votes are from urban areas that are in support of reintroducing the animals.
Animal rights groups are ecstatic about the news calling it a huge victory while at the same time showing their anger at the Fish and Wildlife Service for removing wolves from the endangered species list.
“This is a great victory for wolves coming on the heels of Trump’s illegal action to remove federal protection, and it will help restore the natural balance in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains,” Michael Robinson, a senior conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement.
Colorado’s ranchers, elk hunters and others who actually will be affected by the wolves opposed measure.
“Ranchers in Colorado have been more conservation-minded than anywhere in the country, and when they have challenges of a species like the wolf…It is going to be difficult for us to encourage them to take these proactive conservation efforts in the future,” Terry Fankhauser, executive vice president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, said to The Denver Post.
According to the Denver Post, the CPW has until 2023 to develop a plan and reintroduce an undetermined number of gray wolves, enough to ensure wolf survival. Proponents emphasized this means “paws on the ground” within three years.
“CPW is committed to developing a comprehensive plan and in order to do that, we will need input from Coloradans across our state,” agency director Dan Prenzlow said in a statement. “We are evaluating the best path forward to ensure that all statewide interests are well represented.”
Opposition leaders are banking on the fact that the vote was so close that they can maintain a seat at the discussion table and influence the plan that is based on science.
“Coloradans Protecting Wildlife stands firm in our belief that the forced introduction of wolves into Colorado is bad policy and should not have been decided by the voters,” opposition campaign spokesman Patrick Pratt said. “While the election did not turn out as we had hoped, we are moving forward to continue to educate Coloradans about the importance of this issue. The election results demonstrate that nearly half of Coloradans agree with us. We hope these election results show proponents, lawmakers and Colorado Parks and Wildlife that next steps must be taken in a measured, responsible way.”
As time moves on we will see what the plan looks like. Hopefully, the reintroduction is based on science and they can do it in such a way that elk herds are not decimated by it.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation warned this could happen. I wrote about this preposition almost three years ago and what would happen if it did. Here is what hunters now have to look forward to.