Letter to the editor: Gray wolves are a living legacy in the Rockies | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Gray wolves are a living legacy in the Rockies

Whenever my 2-year-old granddaughter, Emily, sees me in a wolf T-shirt, she makes a wolf howl. Emily has never seen a wolf, with the exception of the plush wolf I gave her on her first birthday.

Wolves once numbered in the millions in the U.S., ranging from Canada to Mexico, West Coast to East Coast.

They were in such great numbers that early pioneers were never out of sight of a wolf. Those early wolves were an apex species that kept their environment in check, making sure buffalo and other native species did not outstrip their food sources.

In the blink of an eye, when early settlers saw the wolf as a problem, they were trapped, shot and poisoned. By the early 1940s, the wolf population was reduced to less than 500.

Twenty-five years ago, wildlife biologists and environmentalists realized the crucial role that apex species play in wildlife and wilderness biodiversity, and had the ambition to restore wolves to the Northern Rockies. The wolves, living up to their role, returned wasteland to thriving bio-communities that gave life again to native flora and fauna, from fish to song birds to grazing big game.

We have a chance to complete the work of the early visionaries. Coloradans can vote on a ballot measure in November to restore gray wolves to western Colorado and, by doing so, provide the critical wildlife corridor that will allow wolves once again to roam from Canada to Mexico.

I am a mother and grandmother. I want my children and grandchildren to experience the call of the wild and not just see fossilized bones of a wolf in a dusty natural history museum.

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