Letter to the editor: Vote yes to restoring the gray wolf to Colorado | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Vote yes to restoring the gray wolf to Colorado

Our shrinking biodiversity. Why should we care? What can we do? Biodiversity refers to the variety of life found in a place on Earth. It encompasses the variety of ecosystems that species create. One cannot talk about biodiversity without talking about extinction.

Past extinctions have been attributed to natural consequences such as global warming or cooling due to meteor impacts on our planet, enhanced volcanic activity, etc.

Our current extinction, however, is entirely the work of human hands. Early man butchered mammoths, mastodons, camels, giant beavers and ground sloths.

With the advent of agriculture and destruction of ecosystems and species habitats, extinctions accelerated exponentially: in a.d. 1600, one species was lost every thousand years; in 1985, 1,000 species went extinct per year; in 2000, between 20,000 to 50,000 species are doomed to extinction each year. This is an alarming rate of species extinction.

Why should we care about shrinking biodiversity and species degradation and loss? There is growing evidence that novel infectious diseases are linked to decreasing biodiversity; that in intact ecosystems, species act as natural hosts to contain viruses. In the absence of a natural host, a virus can jump to humans and cause disease. A UN program noted that up to 75% of emerging infectious zoonotic diseases are a result of ecosystem destruction.

Some recent examples of such diseases include Lyme disease, malaria, Ebola, West Nile virus and the current coronavirus. Help restore our Colorado biodiversity. Restore the gray wolf to his historic range. He will be a force in bringing balance to nature. As witnessed in the Northern Rockies, wolves will keep elk populations in check, culling the ones with chronic wasting disease, thus preventing overgrazing, and restore biodiversity from song birds to snakes.

Vote YES for Proposition #107, restoration of the gray wolf to Colorado.

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