Report: 40 Years of Wolf Management Should Inform Colorado’s Efforts to Help Wolves, People Thrive

DENVER, Colo. — Colorado’s reintroduction and re-establishment of a sustainable gray wolf population in the Centennial State, as required by the passage of Proposition 114 in 2020, should be guided by 40 years of learning from wolf scientists and managers, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation. The report, compiled by renowned wolf biologist Dr. Diane Boyd in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, is based on the experiences from other states and the best available science. 

The report reviews wolf reintroduction and management in Northern Rockies, Pacific and Great Lakes states who have experienced the re-establishment of wolves while also enduring social and political challenges that can inform Colorado’s wolf reintroduction and management plan. By providing science-based recommendations, lessons learned and considerations that encapsulate decades of experience, the report provides insights to inform critical decisions faced by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in coming years. 

“Colorado has a unique opportunity to think ahead and plan for the presence of sustainable wolf populations that restore our biodiversity while addressing the economic and social needs of rural communities, ranchers and sportspeople,” said Brian Kurzel, Rocky Mountain regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation. “By highlighting both positive and negative actions and experiences in other states that have walked down this road already, this report can provide Colorado with insights to avoid mistakes and employ best practices learned over 40 years.” 

“One of the major themes that comes out of this report is that, while credible scientific data and sound biological research is critical to wolf management, sustainable wolf recovery is, and always will be, more about people and social dimensions than it is about wolf biology,” Boyd said. 

The report is built on an extensive review of scientific literature as well as interviews of wolf biologists and managers who have first-hand experience with wolf reintroduction and management. A breakdown of the following critical factors are included in the report:  

  • Wolf reintroduction logistics
  • Addressing livestock depredation 
  • Wolf management
  • Social factors, outreach and public engagement
  • Monitoring and research considerations
  • Funding

The report determines that a successful management plan will be one that recognizes both the positive and negative impacts of wolves in Colorado, proactively addresses the needs and values of those most impacted, has adequate biological and social monitoring, and commits adequate funding to support long-term wolf sustainability. 

The full report can be found here




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