Montana Group Pledges Support for Colorado Ranchers Amid Wolf Reintroduction
A Montana non-profit is pledging its support to Centennial State ranchers regarding Proposition 114, which requires the reintroduction of gray wolves to Colorado by December 31, 2023.
According to the Coloradoan, the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSA) has asked Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to keep Montana wolves out of Colorado to prevent local ranchers from "the impacts this apex predator has on our family ranches."
"It is critically important livestock producers do not shoulder the burden and costs of these types of reintroduction efforts, especially with no management tools in place to protect their property, livelihoods, and resources ranchers so carefully manage," said MSA in a letter.
Proposition 114 states that ranchers will receive assistance and compensation for wolf-related livestock losses. However, Colorado ranchers have already seen multiple wolf attacks this year.
The Coloradoan notes these attacks were likely caused by wolves that naturally migrated to Colorado from Wyoming, meaning that the incidents were unrelated to wolf reintroduction efforts.
Eric Odell, a species conservation program manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), told the publication that wildlife officials plan to release eight to 10 wolves into Colorado each year, although these releases are a ways away — CPW is presenting a draft of the plan to the Parks and Wildlife Commission (PWC) at the end of this year.
Reintroduction plans are also shifting due to a new ruling which gives the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authority over Colorado's wolves. CPW is working "with the USFWS to understand the implications of this decision on Colorado's gray wolf introduction process."