Letter: Let’s find a solution on wolves
Scout Edmondson’s first article on wolves (in the April 4 paper) left me curious about a few things. It focuses on the threat of wolves to ranchers. Tim Ritschard claims that there have been wolves in Grand County for “years,” yet Colorado Parks and Wildlife hasn’t confirmed any livestock losses to wolves.
Merrit Linke said that if wolves become part of Colorado’s ecosystem, there will be problems, although he respects the wolves’ role in nature. Biologists know removing predators creates issues, such as overpopulation of elk. Returning wolves will repair problems and prevent future ones. There isn’t an “if” in the law created by Proposition 114. Parks and Wildlife is required to establish a self-sustaining population of wolves.
The article is correct in stating lethal control is not currently an option due to the relisting of wolves under the federal Endangered Species Act. Parks and Wildlife, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are in the process of creating a rule that has been used in other wolf reintroduction which allows lethal control under certain circumstances. Linke notes the goal of using lethal control is not to kill every wolf, rather to remove problem animals. That’s exactly what the rule will do, just as it did in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico.
Most importantly, lethal control is neither the only nor most effective way to prevent wolf attacks. Ranchers have numerous legal methods for deterring wolves from livestock under federal and state law, from fladry (flags on fences) to noise devices, to guardian animals.
Experience in the northern Rockies has shown, ranchers can live with wolves successfully. We can do even better here in Colorado.
My 10-year-old son would like add, “We know wolves are important in making nature healthy. They should be part of wild Colorado like they used to be and deserve a chance. Can we come together to find a solution?”
Jenny Hargrove and Ryder Kubeldis, Durango
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