On Monday, the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund (RMWAF) turned in petitions with more than 210,000 signatures, forcing the matter of the reintroduction of wolves into Colorado a decision by voters on the 2020 election ballot. Having voters determine the fate of a matter of wildlife management is unprecedented.
Upon turning in the needed petition signatures, Rob Edward, Action Fund President claimed, “Colorado voters have made it clear once again that they enthusiastically support restoring the natural balance to Colorado’s wild public lands.”
“The enthusiastic response from voters all across the state to this initiative is not a surprise,” according to Edwards, “Since poll after poll during the past 20 years has shown that Coloradans want to bring back the wolf.”
The Stop The Wolf coalition took exception to Mr. Edward’s claim that voters have made it clear they want the wolves on Colorado Public Lands. The voters have not yet spoken and will not until November of next year. Meanwhile, the opposition to the project is gaining traction, now that the threat appears real.
Greg Walcher, Director of the Department of Natural Resources in Colorado, added his voice to the opposition in October.
“The forced introduction of wolves against the advice of Colorado’s own wildlife experts is a terrible idea. I have always supported reintroduction as an important tool to recover endangered species. I am proud that as Director of DNR, I was involved in the introduction of lynx, moose, bighorn sheep, prairie chickens, endangered fish, and many other species to Colorado. But wolves are different because they simply cannot peacefully coexist in a state with almost 6 million people. They would decimate other important wildlife, and their impact on rural areas could be devastating. Please join me to support the broad coalition at stopthewolf.org to ensure that this apex predator is not forced into a state where it would be so dangerous and disruptive,” said Walcher.
Edward also claimed that the wolf reintroduction initiative is supported by a large coalition of organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Coloradans. In fact, only one percent of the funding for the petition drive came from Colorado people or organizations, that according to Stop The Wolf spokesman Jon Hotaling. Hotaling produced a financial spreadsheet that shows 99% of the funding coming from outside Colorado.
While the Wolf Project claims majority approval of the project by Colorado residents, there appears to be a swelling of opposition coming from county governments, agriculture organizations, hunters and hunter groups, including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.