CPW Confirms Wolf Pack in Colorado

02/20/2020

A recent DNA test of scat samples in Moffat County confirms that a wolf pack has migrated into Colorado. But will that impact the initiative to reintroduce the endangered species on the West Slope?

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WILL A BALLOT INITIATIVE TO REINTRODUCE THE
ENDANGERED GRAY WOLF IN COLORADO BECOME MOOT,

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NOW THAT COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE OFFICIALS
HAVE CONFIRMED THE PRESENCE OF GRAY WOLVES

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IN MOFFAT COUNTY.

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YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK.

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I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE.

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COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE BIOLOGISTS RECEIVED
RESULTS FROM A GENETICS LAB EARLIER THIS MONTH

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THAT FOUR SCAT SAMPLES COLLECTED NEAR A SCAVANGED
ELK CARCASS IN MOFFAT COUNTY CAME FROM WOLVES.

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THE CONFIRMATION IS THE FIRST EVIDENCE THAT
WOLVES HAVE RETURNED TO THE STATE SINCE 1940.

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AND IT COMES JUST AFTER ADVOCATES SUCCEEDED
IN PLACING AN INITIATIVE ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT

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THAT ASKS VOTERS TO APPROVE THE REINTRODUCTION
AND MANAGEMENT OF GRAY WOLVES IN COLORADO.

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GRAY WOLVES ONCE ROAMED THROUGHOUT THE UNITED
STATES BUT WERE NEARLY ERADICATED BY PREDATOR

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CONTROL PROGRAMS TO PROTECT LIVESTOCK FROM
PREDATION.

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THE LAST WOLVES IN COLORADO WERE ERADICATED
AROUND 1940.

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THE WOLF WAS LISTED AS A FEDERALLY ENDANGERED
SPECIES IN 1978.

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THEY WERE REINTRODUCED IN IDAHO AND MONTANA
IN 1995 AND YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK IN 1996.

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THE COLORADO BALLOT MEASURE WAS INITIATED
BY THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN WOLF FUND ASSOCIATED

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WITH THE NONPROFIT ROCKY MOUNTAIN WOLF PROJECT.

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IF APPROVED, THE INITIATIVE WOULD REQUIRE
THE COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

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TO REINTRODUCE AND MANAGE COLORADO GRAY WOLVES
ON THE WESTERN SLOPE BY DECEMBER 31, 2023.

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THE COMMISSION ALSO WOULD BE REQUIRED TO DEVELOP
A COMPENSATION SYSTEM FOR LIVESTOCK OWNERS

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FOR ANY LOSSES FROM WOLF PREDATION.

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PROPONENTS ARGUE THAT COLORADO ECOSYSTEMS
HAVE BEEN DAMAGED SINCE WOLVES WERE REMOVED

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FROM THE ENVIRONMENT, BECAUSE TOO MANY ELK
AND DEER CAUSE HEAVY GRAZING ALONG STREAMS

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AND RIVERS, CAUSING EROSION THAT DISRUPTS
HABITATS FOR BEAVERS, SONGBIRDS AND OTHER

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SPECIES.

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WOLVES KEEP HERDS MOVING, AND PREDATION OF
WEAKER ANIMALS LIMITS THE SPREAD OF DISEASE.

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OPPONENTS INCLUDE ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE COLORADO
STOP THE WOLF COALITION, THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN

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ELK FOUNDATION, THE COLORADO CATTLEMEN'S AND
WOOL-GROWERS ASSOCIATIONS, AMONG OTHERS.

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THEY ARGUE THAT WOLVES WILL KILL OTHER ENDANGERED
SPECIES AND THREATEN LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION,

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A MAINSTAY OF THE WESTERN COLORADO ECONOMY.

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AND WITH THE NATURAL MIGRATION OF WOLVES INTO
COLORADO, SPEEDING UP RE-INTRODUCTION IS A

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WASTE OF COLORADO TAX DOLLARS.

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IN THE MEANTIME, A COMPROMISE BILL HAS BEEN
PROPOSED BY DEMOCRATIC SENATOR KERRY DONOVAN

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THAT WOULD SET WOLF REINTRODUCTION TWO YEARS
LATER AND WOULD REQUIRE THE STATE TO FIND

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A NEW SOURCE OF REVENUE TO PAY FOR WOLF-PREDATION
DAMAGES BEFORE THEY CAN BE REINTRODUCED IN

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THE STATE.

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THE BILL IS UNDER CONSIDERATION OF THE COLORADO
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE.

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IF LEGISLATION PASSES WITH SUPPORT OF THE
ROCKY MOUNTAIN WOLF ACTION FUND, PROPONENTS

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WOULD HAVE UNTIL SEPTEMBER 4TH TO REMOVE THE
INITIATIVE FROM THE BALLOT.

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IF YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE INITIATIVE,
VISIT THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN WOLF ACTION FUND

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AT WOLF ACTION FUND DOT COM OR THE COLORADO
STOP THE WOLF COALITION AT STOP THE WOLF DOT

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ORG.

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THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS EDITION OF LOCAL
NEWS NETWORK.

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0:03:21.970,0:03:24.559
I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE FOR THE LOCAL NEWS
NETWORK.

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