Letter to the editor: Ancestors of our canine companions, here and gone | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Ancestors of our canine companions, here and gone

Rose Pray

As I write these words, how many of you are playing with your tea kettle poodles, trying to keep your blue-eyed huskies from wandering, your beagles from chasing their tails and your Bernese mountain dogs from leaning on you?

Yes, we love our dogs, in so many shapes, sizes and characters.

Did you know that not so long ago, all of our domesticated dogs came from one animal, the gray wolf (Canis lupus)?

He was the apex species. He lived in harmony with his environment and his prey base. He numbered in the millions and was found from the high Arctic to Mexico, West Coast to East Coast.

Settlers from Europe changed our landscape: changing wilderness to farmland, replacing bison with cattle, allowing game to multiply and take over competitive ecosystems. And so went the gray wolf. From millions strong, he was hunted, poisoned and trapped until only a handful remained in a remote area of the Northeast.

The last gray wolf was trapped and killed in Colorado 70 years ago.

And with the disappearance of the gray wolf, we lost biodiversity and a balanced ecosystem. Grazing animals overgrazed, and other species in the ecosystem faded away.

We lost our mother dog, the dog that would rekindle the wildness in our souls and remind us that in this urban environment, nature in the wild is precious.

Why should you care? You have your furry friend.  

You should care about preserving history, about preserving your dog’s  heritage and preserving a space and place for wildlife and wilderness.

Vote “yes” for Proposition No. 114. Restore the gray wolf to his historic range and his voice to Colorado’s wildlife symphony — a voice that has been missing for over 70 years.  

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