Voters in Colorado could decide the November election whether to allow wolves to be reintroduced in the state. The Secretary of State last week received a ballot proposal for the Colorado Restore Gray Wolf Population Initiative, which still needs to collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. This comes while the federal government is proposing to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list. No public hearings have been arranged in relation to this proposal, so several advocacy groups have organized community hearings around the country to discuss stripping the wolf of federal protections. One such meeting happens in Denver on Monday evening and is organized by Defenders of Wildlife.
Deanna Noel, Director of National Outreach with Defenders of Wildlife, says the current federal protections would be completely removed if the de-listing were to go through and be finalized.
“That would mean it could be open hunting season for gray wolves, as we’ve seen play out in states like Montana, Idaho and Wyoming where federal protections for gray wolves were removed in 2011 from those states and since then it’s pretty much been open hunting season for trophy hunters, trappers and other anti-wolf interests who have since then killed more than 3500 wolves. So we are concerned that with the removal of these federal endangered species act protections, it would really limit wolves ability to thrive without persecution.”
The community meeting on the removal of the wolf from the endangered species list happens this evening at 6.30 at the Alliance Center in Denver.