Wolves in Colorado: Science & Stories
9/24/2020, 10/8/2020, 10/15/2020, 10/22/2020
After a nearly 80-year absence, gray wolves appear to be on the verge of returning to Colorado. In July 2019, a lone radio-collared wolf became the state's first confirmed Canis lupus sighting in the wild in years. Then, in January, a separate pack appeared in Moffat County in northwest Colorado. This November, voters will go to the polls to determine the fate of Ballot Proposition 114 which, if passed, would charge the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission with formally reintroducing wolves no later than 2023.
The potential return of this charismatic and controversial species has sparked a wide range of passionate reactions. Some Coloradans praise the restoration of an endangered apex predator to its ancestral range while pointing to the associated ecosystem benefits. Others are wary of the economic impact on agriculture and the challenges of adding wolves to the increasingly populated Western Slope. For generations, wolves and humans have navigated a fraught dynamic of coexistence. So what does the science tell us about the pros and cons of wolves returning to our backyard? And, if wolves are in Colorado's future, how can society have an effective dialogue that uses science to inform policy and management?
In this special four-part webinar series, we'll explore wolf reintroduction through the lens of science, policy, and lived experiences. Our diverse group of panelists will discuss the current state of wolf populations, dive into the data about the species' role in the ecosystem, talk trade-offs, and hear firsthand stories from those who've already been living amongst wolves in other parts of the U.S.