Colorado Mountain College to host discussion on reintroducing gray wolves to Colorado
The gray wolf became a fixture on the endangered species list in 1978. Subject to hunting throughout the United States, the Colorado’s gray wolves disappeared in the 1930s.
On Thursday, October 29, Delia Malone, an ecologist and executive committee member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Sierra Club, will discuss the advantages of reintroducing the gray wolf to Colorado. The event will look at the biology and family dynamics of gray wolves, ecological impacts, and wolf-livestock coexistence strategies.
“When they tried to eradicate them from US they came over the border from Canada,” said Pamela Bradley, political chair for the Colorado Sierra Club Headwaters Group. “We’re discussing reintroducing 1,000 to help; there are too many elk in Colorado, and they don’t have a natural predator.”
With the disappearance of the wolves, ungulate populations throughout the state, such as elk, deer and moose, have grown unhampered.
“Research has shown that where wolves have been removed, prey populations explode, upsetting the dynamic ecological balance that maintains sustainable ecosystems,” Malone wrote in a letter in conjunction with the Sierra Club.
Gray wolves live and hunt in packs of seven or eight on average, with the two alpha parents and their offspring. The two pack leaders help track prey, establish a pack’s territory and teach their offspring how to hunt.
However, in the past, when wolves were hunted or trapped, they lost crucial family bonds that assisted in their success with hunting for large prey.
“What we’ve learned is that lethal wolf management typically removes the adult wolves, destroying the family social bonds that are key to wolves regulating their own populations and essential to their hunting success,” Malone added. “Removal of adults often gives rise to several breeding pairs of young, inexperienced wolves that must then turn to hunting livestock to survive.“
Bradley said that if the wolves were reintroduced, the goal would be to keep them away from cattle or livestock, by reducing these types of instances.
The discussion will take place at Colorado Mountain College’s Breckenridge Campus, on Thursday, Oct. 29, starting at 5:30 p.m.
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