Ten "Real" Reasons for Wolves in Colorado
(May 8, 2005)
Well, we've finally done it--the fourteen members of the Colorado
Wolf Working Group agreed, and on May 5th, the Wildlife Commission
concurred: Wolves can migrate into Colorado and roam freely.
Now that the
serious work is over, it's time to have some fun.
As one of the four wildlife
advocates on the working group, it is my distinct pleasure to
announce that we advocates have negotiated a deal with 20 national
environmental groups to purchase the first shipment of four
hundred Canadian wolves that will be delivered to Colorado on
Hey, relax--it's a joke! It's
actually only 40 wolves, and they've all been genetically modified
to only eat grass and three-legged sheep that wouldn't survive
Ok, ok, that's another joke.
It's actually not 40 wolves, but 10 lawsuits which will strip
every private landowner in Colorado of all their property rights
thereby making way for wolves and the formal "rewilding"
of the state.
Yes, that's just another joke,
but as Gomer Pyle used to say, Golll-lee, everyone
takes this wolf thing so seriously. The fact is that the year-long
process of the Wolf Working Group was both a mixture of seriousness
The fourteen of us--ranchers,
biologists, county commissioners, hunters and wildlife advocates--ate
together, stayed in lodges together, and drank beer together.
Throughout, we got to know each other well, which provided for
lots of laughs as well as needed, mutual understanding.
It was a very worthwhile process,
and now Colorado has a Migratory Wolf Management Plan. But,
unfortunately (from my viewpoint), Colorado still has no wolves.
Scientific opinion is mixed
on how long it will take wolf packs to migrate into and/or establish
themselves in Colorado--guesses vary from six months to 10 years.
Many of us on the working group, however, would like to hasten
this process by reconvening to create a Wolf Recovery Plan for
The underlying reasons for having
wolves in Colorado are the usual--"the ecological health
of the land," "the health of ungulate herds,"
"the tourism boost," "the aesthetic beauty of
wolves" and "the wildness and hope that wolves will
bring to the Colorado landscape." But, there are other
reasons that are a lot more fun.
So, here we go, the Top 10 "Real"
Reasons why the Colorado Wildlife Commission should reconvene
the Wolf Working Group to create a recovery plan that reintroduces
wolves to Colorado.
Number 10. Elk and deer need
the exercise, and wolves are cheaper than Jane Fonda workout
Number 9. Because wolves are incestual and polygamus, they'll
give social conservatives something else to focus on other than
the gay marriage ban.
Number 8. Wolves don't just eat elk, deer, and livestock, they
eat real-estate developers, too.
Number 7. Now that Hunter S. Thompson is dead, the ecological
niche for wolves in Colorado is wide open.
Number 6. Boulder's bio-tech engineers are salivating at the
opportunity to create a genetically modified sheep that grows
porcupine quills rather than wool.
Number 5. With one thousand wolves in Colorado, the radio-collar
business will explode and create the state's next dot.com-like
Number 4. Now that Warren Zevon is dead, people in Boulder no
longer have anything to howl about. (hint: "Werewolves
Number 3. We can train wolves to help patrol Colorado's borders
and thereby enforce Tom Tancredo's anti-immigration agenda.
Number 2. Without wolves, Colorado ranchers will have to revert
back to Viagra to get their hackles up.
And, the Number One reason to reintroduce wolves into Colorado:
George Bush thinks wolves are terrorists, and so if Colorado
has wolves, the state will get a lot more funding from the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security.
Now seriously, the Wolf Working
Group created a strange sort of camaraderie where almost no
one predicted it. In my travels around the state talking with
environmentalists, hunters, and ranchers, I've seen a curious
kind of hope come out of this--a hope that this age-old conflict
could be settled without acrimony, lawsuits, or cow-pie slinging.
Please reconvene the Wolf Working
Group and tell us to create a recovery plan for wolves in Colorado.
If we can do this, it'll make next year's grizzly bear recovery
program all that much easier.
Gary Wockner, PhD, (www.garywockner.com)
is a writer and ecologist in Fort Collins.