(CBS4) – Voters in Colorado have approved a measure by a razor thin margin that requires Colorado Parks and Wildlife to come up with a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves. Both supporters and opponents of Proposition 114 stated on Thursday afternoon — nearly two days after the polls closed — that the race was over, although the final vote count continued
“With this decision, the planning process for reintroduction will begin,” officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife stated.READ MORE: Jeffco Public Schools Aims To Offer Flexibility With Remote Learning Next Fall
“CPW staff is fully prepared to work with stakeholders, including consultation with other state agencies with specific experience with introducing the species, to develop the plan to reintroduce gray wolves over the coming months,” officials said.
Both opposition groups Coloradans Protecting Wildlife and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association conceded. Proposition 114 includes paying fair compensation for livestock losses attributed to gray wolves.
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The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund was behind the campaign to get Proposition 114 on the ballot. They and other advocates say having gray wolves back in Colorado will restore a natural balance in the wildlands of Colorado. Opponents said the decision should have been made by CPW experts. In addition to Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the Colorado Farm Bureau and several counties came out against the proposal, which specifies that reintroduction will happen on BLM land in western Colorado.
Wolves were a federally endangered species and all wolf management was under direction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until last week, when the Trump administration removed the wolf from the list of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act.
A television ad ran during the election cycle opposed to the statewide ballot measure. CBS4 gave that ad a Reality Check:
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CPW experts currently manage 960 wildlife species for the state and have restored several of Colorado’s most iconic species. For more information on CPW’s existing conservation programs, visit cpw.state.co.us/conservation.