By: Brandon Thompson
MESA COUNTY, Colo. – Mesa County Commissioners vote unanimously to oppose the active relocation of wolves into Colorado stating concerns over livestock, human safety and wildlife populations of animals currently living in the county.
The resolution the board passed Monday states an opposition to any effort to expand or introduce populations of wolves into Colorado, support of taking all wolf species off of the Endangered Species Act list and supports recommendations made by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, including a resolution from 2016.
“The people in this community, we’re big on outdoor recreation.” Scott McInnis, a Mesa County Commissioner, said, “People don’t need to be at risk of a wolf pack. We don’t need to have the moose decimated.”
McInnis is also concerned about the impact on deer and elk populations.
In their resolution, commissioners say they are also worried about the diseases wolves carry that can transmit to other wildlife, livestock and humans.
“…predation by wolves of the majestic wildlife and domestic livestock is a serious problem that Colorado shouldn’t invite, encourage or accept…” the resolution states.
CPW says that there have been a small number of groups that have began the conversations to relocate wolves into Colorado.
Some of their arguments to do so are improvements in river health, the natural food chain and improvements in the ecosystem.
The agency opposes the intentional release of any wolf species in Colorado.
In 1995, Grey Wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park. The species of wolves can travel dozens of miles in a single day and some may have moved south.
CPW reports that over the past 15 years, credible sightings and accidental killings of wolves in Colorado have occurred.
Supporters of reintroduction of say this is the wolves’ natural habitat anyway.
“Rattlesnakes were on where we have Main Street in Grand Junction, they were here long before we had Main Street,” McInnis said, “You think people would be happy to have rattlesnakes on Main Street.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife says, Colorado is in the historic range of Grey Wolves as they were eliminated from the state in the 1930’s-40’s.
In the resolution from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, it states that if wolves naturally find their way into Colorado, the agency wouldn’t take management steps against them.
If reintroduction were to happen, commissioners request for reimbursement to livestock, wildlife management, hunting and “other adverse effects on local economies.”