CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Colorado voters may be asked to decide whether gray wolves should be reintroduced to the state.
An initiative to pushing to put the measure before voters required 124,632 signatures, according to Ballotpedia.
Supporters of the initiative submitted over 200,000 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday, Dec. 10, the Denver Post reports.
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That means Colorado voters will likely see the measure appear when voting on Nov. 3, 2020.
“The measure would require the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to create a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves on designated lands west of the continental divide by the end of 2023,” Ballotpedia explains, citing the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.
Voters may be asked to decide on the following question:
Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning the restoration of gray wolves through their reintroduction on designated lands in Colorado located west of the continental divide, and, in connection therewith, requiring the Colorado parks and wildlife commission, after holding statewide hearings and using scientific data, to implement a plan to restore and manage gray wolves; prohibiting the commission from imposing any land, water, or resource use restrictions on private landowners to further the plan; and requiring the commission to fairly compensate owners for losses of livestock caused by gray wolves?Ballotpedia
The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund is leading efforts in support of the initiative, Ballotpedia adds.
“Why should we reintroduce wolves to Colorado?” the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund asks. “Since the 1940s, when Colorado’s last wolf was killed, our ecosystem has suffered. A lack of natural balance means that too many elk and deer eat away the vegetation that holds streams and rivers back, leading to erosion and the disruption of even more habitats, like those for native beavers and songbirds.”
“Wolves also naturally limit the spread of disease, such as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), by taking vulnerable animals out of the population.”
Opponents of the measure include:
- Colorado Stop the Wolf Coalition
- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
- Colorado Farm Bureau
“Forced wolf introduction is not only a disastrous idea that will impact our wildlife, livestock, and Colorado’s growing population, but it’s also not fair to the wolves,” Colorado Stop the Wolf Coalition says.