Last week the country watched in anticipation as the 2020 election took place. With historical voter turnout and a race so close that it came down to just a handful of states, this election was a nail biter for many. Among elected officials, Colorado voted to pass Proposition 114, a controversial ballot measure that is requiring the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to reintroduce gray wolves to the state by 2023.
Gray wolves were native to Colorado until the last one was killed around 1940, 38 years before the species would officially be added to the endangered species list. The desire to reintroduce gray wolves to Colorado comes from a desire to restore the natural balance of ecosystems in the area. A similar initiative was used in Yellowstone National Park in 1995, since then ecologists have observed the positive impact that wolves have had on the ecosystem.
The Rocky Mountain Wolf Acton Fund (RMWAF) raised $2.39 million to support the proposition citing the ecological benefits and need for restoration of suffering ecosystems. Coloradans Protecting Wildlife and Stop the Wolf PAC were the two organizations opposing the measure, arguing that the introduction of wolves could alter the way of life in Colorado, where they rely on the outdoor recreation market and the protection of livestock.
The proposition passed Wednesday night after the opponents of the measure conceded. Now the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission have to accomplish the following by December 31st, 2023:
- By “using the best scientific data available”, develop a reintroduction plan
- Prepare a report with data on economic and ecological impacts
- Hold hearings to compile information for the reintroduction plan
- Use public input gathered in public hearings to periodically update the plan
- Reintroduce grey wolves by the deadline