Letter to the editor: Wolves will restore a crucial link between Rockies populations | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Wolves will restore a crucial link between Rockies populations

I am writing to encourage everyone to vote in favor of Proposition 114, the restoration of wolves to Colorado.

Without apex predators like wolves, Colorado’s ecosystem is unbalanced and unhealthy. When wolves were restored to the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, the presence of wolves changed the behavior of elk, keeping them from grazing streamside vegetation out in the open. There were several benefits, including healthier streambeds, resulting in increased willow and aspen stands, and enhanced habitat for songbirds and beavers. The larger beaver populations built dams, improving trout habitat.

Prey populations like elk and deer can actually be made healthier by the presence of wolves. By targeting diseased prey, wolves will help control Colorado’s serious and growing problem of chronic wasting disease. In Yellowstone, Idaho and western Montana, where there have been wolves for about 25 years, there is little or no chronic wasting disease. Idaho, Montana and Wyoming all report larger elk and deer herds and harvests than before the reintroduction of wolves.

As a retired businessman, I can empathize with ranchers who fear the loss of livestock inventory (sheep and cattle). However, experience has shown that these fears are exaggerated.

In the northern Rockies, the roughly 1,800 wolfs have taken less than one-tenth of 1% of the livestock there. And Proposition 114 mandates fair compensation for livestock predation.

Furthermore, wolves in Colorado will restore a crucial link between populations in the northern and southern Rockies, resulting in a healthier ecosystem from Canada to Mexico.

So should you vote in favor of Proposition 114? Howl yes!

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