Proposition 114 would direct state wildlife officials to develop a plan to reintroduce wolves, once hunted into near-extinction, on public land west of the Continental Divide in Colorado before 2024. Ranchers, business chambers and rural governments strongly opposed the initiative, saying it would threaten livestock and Colorado’s lucrative hunting industry for elk and deer, key prey for the wolf.
Asked if any reintroduction process could trigger litigation, Pratt, of Coloradans Protecting Wildlife, said: “We have not ruled out any available options at this time.”
The gray wolf has been successfully restored in several U.S. states, including in Idaho and in Yellowstone National Park 25 years ago. Because of government-sponsored hunting, trapping and poisoning, the wolf disappeared in Colorado in the 1940s.
Proponents argue that reintroducing wolves would restore balance to an ecosystem severely altered in their absence by oversized big game herds.
About 6,000 gray wolves live in the Northern Rockies, the Pacific Northwest and the Western Great Lakes regions.
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