Colorado wolf reintroduction meeting to be held Thursday, Dec. 7 | TheFencePost.com

Colorado wolf reintroduction meeting to be held Thursday, Dec. 7

The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association is encouraging its members to attend a Sierra Club meeting in Steamboat Springs, Colo., on Dec. 7, to make sure the downfalls of wolf reintroduction are crystal clear.

The Colorado Cattlemen's Association is encouraging its members to attend a Sierra Club meeting in Steamboat Springs, Colo., on Dec. 7, to make sure the downfalls of wolf reintroduction are crystal clear.

The Sierra Club meeting will be at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs at 6 p.m. The Sierra Club has been working to change the public perception of wolves in hopes of reintroducing the animals to their former habitat.

CCA strongly encourages its members to attend the meeting and express their opposition to the reintroduction of wolves in Colorado.

CCA shared two basic reasons for its opposition to reintroduction of Wolves into the Southern Rocky Mountain Ecosystem:

1. We believe that the introduction is driven by the faulty assumption that the presence of the wolf is necessary for healthy ecosystem function. We would suggest that any healthy ecosystem has the capability of adapting to the constant change under which it exists. Constant perturbation is the norm for an ecological system and, in fact, systems are dependent upon these perturbations for proper functioning. Whether wildfire, disease, or the constant ebb and flow of predator/prey populations, ecological systems possess the inherent capacity to evolve with environmental fluctuation.

As one component of the system wanes, others quickly fill the void. We believe that the current site of larger predators including the mountain lion, black bear, coyote, lynx and humans can be effectively managed to appropriately contain prey species within carrying capacities. This may require some shift in our current sport hunting philosophies, but it is certainly within our capabilities.

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2. We continue to remain concerned over the high potential for conflict with wolf/human interactions. Particularly problematic are interactions between wolf populations and domestic livestock populations. It is our understanding that where other wolf reintroduction efforts have and are being done, the ranching community has, for the most part, not been totally satisfied with the resolutions of the conflicts. For example, the simple reimbursement of current market value for an animal lost to wolves does not take into consideration the loss of reproductive capacities from a well-developed gene pool or the economic loss experienced by the necessity of having to relocate an entire herd as the result of denning activity by wolves.

The potential for serious conflict between dogs, whether kept for sport hunting or as family pets, must be considered. This is particularly true in the southern Rockies where humans, engaged in recreational activities on federal lands have demonstrated a marked proclivity for having dogs as companion animals.

Based upon these two areas of concern, we remain opposed to the reintroduction of wolves into the Southern Rocky Mountain Ecoregion. We wonder whether or not the effort needed to address the potential problems associated with reintroduction is sound public policy, especially in light of the questionable "need" for this particular predator in this ecosystem.

-Eatherton is a freelance writer from Beaulah, Wyo. When she's not writing, she's riding her horse or playing with her grandson. She can be reached at teatherton@msn.com.