JACKSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — A recent sighting of a possibly Gray Wolf in Jackson County has stirred up an old debate about reintroducing wolves to Colorado. Members of The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund are currently gathering signatures to get a measure on the 2020 ballot to do that.
“We believe that the right thing to do is give the people of Colorado a voice in restoring the balance,” said Rob Edward, President of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund.
Edward says Colorado has the largest elk population in North America and one of the largest deer populations. He adds that without wolves, the two go unchecked and can cause destruction in places like Rocky Mountain National Park.
“The elk have stripped the river corridors bare. They’re putting fences around large swaths of the park in order to help the Aspen and willow regenerate. Wolves would change that dynamic over the course of a decade,” Edward told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.
But not everyone is excited about the recent wolf sighting. Phillip Anderson is a rancher in Jackson County, where the possible wolf was spotted. He worries about his livestock.
“We’re small ranchers and our livelihood depends on keeping the calf and lamb from the point in time it’s born to the time we market it, keeping it alive. We don’t want wolves here,” he told CBS4.
Edward says he understands the concerns, and that’s why reimbursement to ranchers who lose livestock to wolves is in their ballot measure. But he adds that the overall threat is blown out of proportion.
“The fact is that wolves don’t pose a significant threat to livestock, and they don’t pose any threat to our burgeoning elk and deer population. In fact they pose the best answer to helping get things back in balance again.”