Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.


Monday, January 11, 2016

RMEF Letter to Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission Regarding Wolves


January 11, 2016


Mr. Chris Castilian
Chair
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission
6060 Broadway
Denver, CO 80216


Chairman Castilian and Commissioners:

We understand the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to consider a petition on January 13 that would prevent the introduction of wolves in Colorado.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) supports Alternative Version 2 of this petition including language that opposes the intentional release of any wolves into Colorado. Reintroduction of gray wolves in the Rocky Mountain West has had significant impacts on elk, deer, other wildlife and livestock in many locations.   Further, the lessons learned from the Greater Yellowstone wolf reintroduction should be heeded as you consider the long term future of Colorado’s wildlife. Those who promoted the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction, including Defenders of Wildlife, have displayed a substantial lack of good faith in the establishment of recovery goals and wolf management tools.

The strategy of the pro-wolf supporters is nothing short of “let’s agree to just about anything to get our foot in the door first; then we will do whatever is necessary to further our agenda.” Those supporting wolf reintroductions will use the federal courts and judges as opposed to subscribing to empirical science. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will lose the ability to manage as you see fit and mandated by federal lawsuits. CPW need only to talk with the state wildlife agencies of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan to determine what impacts a reintroduced wolf species will bring to Colorado, including financial impacts which will reach into the millions.

Further, one only needs to look at the wolf populations in the Great Lakes region and take inventory of where the deer populations as well as elk populations have suffered dramatically due predation. Again, the same pro-wolf groups that now desire wolves introduced into Colorado continue to tie up wolf management in the Great Lakes states in federal courts as wolf numbers expand and deer and elk decrease. The lessons CPW can draw from both the Yellowstone region and the Great Lakes states illustrate that wolf populations where there are significant ungulates will have a significant effect on your overall wildlife management systems.  

Mexican gray wolves are another matter. The home range of this species did not historically include Colorado. In fact, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project does not include Colorado in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. That area is limited to Arizona and New Mexico.

Please consider these reasons for supporting Alternative Version 2 of this petition.
  1. There is evidence gray wolves have already re-established populations in Colorado. Introduction of a separate species of wolf could create hybridized wolves.
  2. Introduction of Mexican wolves would certainly have a detrimental impact on elk, deer, other wildlife and livestock—all factors critically important to Colorado’s landscape, recreational value and economy.
  3. Introduction of Mexican wolves could impact the balance in Colorado that currently exists among existing predators and prey. Judging from our experience in other western states, wolves will impact wildlife populations, distribution and behavior—often in negative and undesirable ways.
Please understand our position on this issue does not come without serious consideration of the scientific understanding of wolves, wolf interactions with other species and wolf management. In fact, we have invested more than $725,000 in grants to leading universities, state and federal wildlife conservation agencies and tribal agencies for independent research on this subject.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important issue.

Sincerely,





M. David Allen
President & CEO


3 comments:

  1. David,
    Your comments are spot on. We here in the Durango Colorado area will lend our support to Alternative Version 2 of this Petition. Our Chapter Banquet is scheduled in 2 weeks. We will announce this Petition and ask everyone in attendance to support Alternative 2.

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  2. Where can the results of the independent research be found?

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  3. Here's a listing from our database:

    RMEF Funded Research / Management Studies Addressing Wolves
    Thru 10Dec2015
    RMEF $s
    Project # Year Project Title Cat Expended Balance
    ID0029 2000 Central Idaho Predation Study - Year 2 RE $15,000 $0
    ID010104 2001 Central Idaho Predation Study - Year 3 RE $15,000 $0
    ID030052 2003 Elk Calf Production Monitoring - Game Management Unit 28 MA $2,756 $0
    ID060128 2007 Effects of Wolves on Elk in Clearwater River Basin MA $20,000 $0
    ID070106 2009 Effects of Fire and Wolves on Elk and Mule Deer #2 MA $20,000 $0
    ID090052 2011 Effect of Wolves on Elk in Central Idaho - Year 2 MA $12,500 $0
    ID100160 2011 Effects of Wolf Predation on Elk Survival - Year 1 RE $6,000 $0
    ID110019 2011 Effects of Wolf Predation on Elk Survival - Year 2 RE $10,000 $0
    ID120172 2013 Idaho Elk Data Synthesis Study RE $5,000 $0
    ID9938 1999 Central Idaho Predation Study - Year 1 RE $15,000 $0
    MT020029 2002 Assessment of Wolf - Ungulate Interactions Within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem o RE $10,000 $0
    MT110116 2011 Evaluating Elk Survival and Recruitment in the Bitterroot Valley - Year 1 RE $30,784 $0
    MT120067 2012 Evaluating Elk Survival and Recruitment in the Bitterroot Valley - Year 2 RE $41,600 $0
    MT130036 2013 Evaluating Elk Survival and Recruitment in the Bitterroot Valley - Year 3 RE $76,150 $103
    MT9085 1990 Elk Mortality in an Area Recently Recolonized By Wolves RE $11,915 $0
    MT96145 1996 Demographic Response of Northern Yellowstone Elk to Wolf Restoration - Year 1 RE $2,500 $0
    MT9735 1997 Demographic Response of Northern Yellowstone Elk to Wolf Restoration - Year 2 RE $2,500 $0
    NA080029 2008 Meta-Analysis of Elk Calf Survival and Cause-Specific Mortality RE $30,324 $0
    NA090047 2009 Meta-Analysis of Elk Calf Survival and Cause-Specific Mortality - Year 2 RE $20,416 $0
    NA8926 1989 Determining Wolf Predation on Elk RE $2,500 $0
    NA9690 1996 Impact of Wolf Reintroduction on Elk Foraging Efficiency - Year 1 RE $2,932 $0
    NA9764 1997 Impact of Wolf Reintroduction on Elk Foraging Efficiency - Year 2 RE $2,932 $0
    NA98118 1998 Impact of Wolf Reintroduction on Elk Foraging Efficiency - Year 3 RE $2,932 $0
    NA99105 1999 Neonatal Mortality of Elk in Areas With and Without Grizzly Bears - Year 3 RE $6,000 $0
    NM110300 2012 Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area Elk Habitat Use and Predation RE $5,000 $0
    WI010179 2003 A Population Simulation Model for the Clam Lake Elk Herd #1 MA $22,500 $0
    WI020196 2004 A Population Simulation Model for the Clam Lake Elk Herd #2 MA $24,500 $0
    WY060406 2006 Absaroka Elk Ecology Study - Year 1 MA $44,080 $0
    WY070172 2008 Absaroka Elk Ecology Study - Year 2 MA $5,000 $0
    WY080134 2008 Absaroka Elk Ecology Study - Year 3 MA $10,000 $0
    WY090128 2010 Absaroka Elk Ecology Study - Year 4 MA $40,000 $0
    WY100120 2011 Absaroka Elk Ecology Study - Year 5 MA $10,000 $0
    WY110152 2011 Absaroka Elk Ecology Study - Year 6 RE $7,500 $0
    WY110154 2013 Influence of Climate and Predation on Elk Survival Across the Northwest RE $7,499 $0
    WY120152 2013 Wyoming Elk Data Synthesis Study RE $10,000 $10,000
    Total $550,821 $10,103


    RMEF Funded Management Activities Addressing Wolves
    Thru 10Dec2015
    RMEF $s
    Project # Year Project Title Cat Expended Balance
    ID130331 2013 Idaho Wolf Management 2013 MA $50,000 $0
    ID150309 2015 Idaho Wolf Monitoring 2015 MA $50,000 $0
    MI130596 2013 Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management 2013 Michigan Initiative MA $10,000 $0
    MI140137 2014 Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management 2014 Michigan Initiative MA $15,000 $0
    MT040046 2004 Madison Valley Wildlife Working Group Education and Outreach Program CE $3,500 $0
    MT120270 2012 Montana Wolf Management 2012 MA $51,000 $0
    MT130266 2013 Montana Wolf Management 2013 MA $25,000 $0
    MT130583 2013 Montana Wolf Management 2013 MA $25,000 $0
    MT140291 2014 Montana Wolf Management 2014 MA $50,000 $0
    MT150223 2015 Montana Wolf Management 2015 MA $50,000 $0
    WY130332 2013 Wyoming Wolf Management 2013 MA $50,000 $0
    Total $379,500 $0


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