By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4)– Activists are working at the grass-roots level to change public opinion as they hope to eventually reintroduce packs of wolves into several regions of Colorado wilderness.

“Wolves will not get here on their own. Yes, we’ve had three or four wander in over the past few decades, but they have not been able to find or establish a pack,” said Delia Malone, the Colorado Sierra Club Wildlife Team Chair.

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Malone has been giving talks around Colorado and is planning more in 2018. Most of her presentation is centered on the success of wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park.

Delia Malone, the Colorado Sierra Club Wildlife Team Chair (credit: CBS)

“In eating elk, which is their primary prey, wolves make ecosystems healthier,” said Malone. “When the elk are moved out of the stream areas, the willow can recover, the beaver can come back, songbirds come back, the fish can come back. So, wolves initiate this cascade of events that improve biodiversity.”

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“Yellowstone cannot be the argument for bringing wolves to Colorado. There’s no need for a trophic cascade,” said Steve Lohr, an outdoorsman. “It’s nonsensical to say this West Slope, or Middle Park or North Park or for that matter the whole Great Basin is comparable to Yellowstone National Park. It’s not.”

(credit: CBS)

Lohr attended one of Malone’s presentations and says businesses will be affected if wolf packs return to Colorado.

Steve Lohr (credit: CBS)

“Wolves create a serious drain on some economies that are important to Colorado. If you’re a wool grower and you’re losing sheep, the obvious loss is there. If you’re a cattleman, the obvious loss is there. It there are no more hunting opportunities there’s a huge loss,” Lohr said.

Malone says states like Montana and Wyoming have set up programs to give ranchers payments if livestock are killed and says the loss of sheep or cattle has been minimal.

“Wolves are important moderator, Malone says. “Wolves are not going to decimate elk, they are actually going to improve the population and to bringing that understanding that livestock can live and coexistence with wolves.”

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The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted against a resolution that would have supported wolf reintroduction two years ago. But activists say they’re going to continue working for what they say will improve the state’s environment.

(credit: CBS)

“We can see there’s not the conflict that people purport there’s going to be,” Malone said.

More events are expected around Colorado, you can find out more information at https://www.rockymountainwolfproject.org/

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

Comments (7)
  1. Oh no, businesses will “be affected”. Anyone who thinks businesses are more important than wildlife is a psycho.

    Unfortunately, anti-wolf people are louder in these comments than pro-wolf people. But that is expected, as dumb people are usually louder and talk more.

    Wolves bring positive change to these ecosystems, and we need that. We cannot fill their niche, nor should we.

  2. Bob Brister says:

    We need wolves back in Utah, too. If wolves get established in Colorado, they are just a hop, skip, and a jump from Utah. More wolves, less politics (and myths about Canadian wolves).

    1. Sam Lobo says:

      Yup, it will be absolutely great to watch what happens to the Mexican grays when the big Canadians move in……can’t wait to see the wolf pimps fight about wolves once they make it to New Mexico.

  3. Sam Lobo says:

    This is more about abusing the Endangered Species Act then it is about wolves. These disgusting groups abuse the Endangered Species Act to no end and the law needs desperate reform. What they have done in states that have wolves is absurd and a stain on the law. You see these groups get paid to sue ……. YUP, all of these lawsuits where they Judge shop get EAJA dollars,,,,, because liberal Judges will ALWAYS side with them. Judge Molloy is the worst of the worst….. Adding insult to injury is how these Judges are letting them rape the taxpayer with absurd pay….. EAJA puts a cap of $125 an hour on attorneys’ fees unless the court determines an increase is justified due to increase in cost of living or a “special factor,” as the law states. The Supreme Court determined “special factors” to be attorneys with distinctive knowledge or specialized skills pertaining to the litigation in question (Baier, 2012, p. 37). This special factor clause is used routinely to justify amounts well over the $125 cap. In most environmental cases, environmental lawyers are seen as specialists and thus paid upwards of $300 per hour (Baier, 2012, p. 41). Budd-Falen found the average EAJA reimbursement in Endangered Species Act cases was $490.73 per hour, and got as high as $775 per hour. Some courts are blatantly ignoring the statutory cap and redefining the “special factor” clause. The market value for private lawyers determines most fees when most of the layers working for these non-profits would make much less for their in-house work (Baier, 2012, p. 41).

    Here is a list of JUST four of the lawsuits and the EAJA dollars paid to these welfare lawyer!

    *Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall USFWS, 1:08-cv-56 (D. Mont.) – $263,099.66 Wolf Challenge against the USFWS’s 2008 decision to delist the northern Rockies.

    *Defenders of Wildlife v. U.S. Dep of Int, 1:03-cv-1348 (D. Ore.) – $272,710.54 Down listing” of the gray wolf from endangered to threatened status.

    *National Wildlife Federation v. Norton, 1:03-CV-340 (D. Vt.) – $255,500 Wolf argument over Distinct population segments

    *Humane Society of the U S v. Kempthorne USFWS, 1:07-cv-0677 (D.D.C.) – $280,000 Western Great lakes delisting

    This is just the tip of the Iceberg! REFORM the ESA!

  4. Terry Corman says:

    If there are too many Elk that simply means there haven’t been enough elk licences issued.Too many problems created with introducing CANADIAN wolves.We are better off without them.By the way they would love to have your dog or cat for a snack! {ask the people of Alaska)

  5. Ron Knowles says:

    Wolves were eliminated from Colo. years ago, that reason is still valid today

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