Are Wolves Coming Back to Colorado?

Exploring the implications of wolves being reintroduced in to Colorado.


Josie Brewer, Staff Writer

Colorado has always been a biologically diverse state, thriving with lush vegetation and a long list of animals, appealing to many tourists for it’s amazing view but a new visitor threatens to trickle in through the border.

Canis Lupus, more commonly known as the gray wolf, was reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1975 and over the years its population slowly flourished, helping the diminishing ecosystem eventually thrive. From there the wolves have made their way into surrounding territories and have met mixed feelings.

Many agree that wolves have fixed ecosystems that are overthrown by elk herds and other hoofed animals that trample plants and out compete many small critters that help aerate the soil. For example, Yellowstone now has a thriving aspen forest and dense vegetation that supports more biodiversity and protects many animals. On top of that, it has boosted the economy as it has drawn in many wolf watchers.

But on the other hand, Coloradans are worried that the reintroduction of the wolf could leave some ranchers, who depend on elk hunting, bankrupt. Not only that, but safety is big concern as children new mexico have come face to face with wolves and have even suffered deaths. Plus, farmers who raise livestock are unsettled by the fact that wolves could easily kill many of their animals.

Colorado legislature obviously is against the reintroduction of wolves, as they have voted against it three different times over the past 25 years. But there’s no stopping the inevitable and Colorado may soon spot wolves within the Rocky Mountain National Parks, where elk populations have been a topic of controversy for some years. With wolves, the populations will be significantly lower and this will be sure to please environmentalists that were against allowing elk hunters within the park to reduce elk herds.

The reintroduction of the wolves is a matter of putting the earth over human needs. It will help an ecosystem thrive and bring biodiversity to the states, but can threaten safety and those who depend on hunting. Thinking long-term though, this could actually be beneficial for humans in means to conserve the earth for the future.Overall, the reintroduction of wolves is something to watch out for and we won’t know the true implications till they cross the border.