Gray wolves once roamed most of North America. However, shortly after the arrival of European colonizers, the entire species faced widespread persecution. By the 1930’s, wolves were eradicated from most of the western U.S., largely due to aggressive predator control programs and habitat loss. In 1978, the gray wolf was classified as a federally endangered species, and starting in the 1990’s wolves were slowly reintroduced in Idaho, Montana, and Yellowstone National Park. Over the past 25 years, they have helped ecosystems across the Rocky Mountains bounce back by keeping elk populations in check and moving, allowing for aspens and shrubs to regenerate, decreasing erosion, and boosting beaver populations.
This November, a measure that would reintroduce gray wolves to Colorado is up for vote. The measure, known as the Colorado Gray Wolf Reintroduction Initiative, would require the Parks and Wildlife Commission to create a plan to reintroduce and manage wolves on designated lands west of the continental divide by the end of 2023.
A recent state-wide study conducted by eleven researchers from Colorado State University shows that the public are widely in favor of reintroducing wolves. 84% of residents support the reintroduction of wolves, a good sign for the upcoming election.
For full survey results, check out the study here.