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PNS Daily Newscast - November 25, 2020 


Feeding hungry families, on Thanksgiving and beyond; and is that turkey really from a family farm? (Note to Broadcasters: The newscast has been granted a holiday for Thanksgiving, but we'll return first thing Friday.)


2020Talks - November 25, 2020 


CORRECTED 2:30pm MST 11/25 - Linda Thomas-Greenfield would be the second Black woman in US UN Ambassador role, Susan Rice was the first. Biden nominees speak; how can social media spread less misinformation and be less polarizing. *2020Talks will not be released 11/26 & 11/27*

Colorado Voters to Decide Whether Gray Wolves Return

Supporters of reintroducing gray wolves to Colorado, a species humans had eradicated in the state by the 1940s, hope the move will restore balance to the region's ecosystem. (Wildfaces/Pixabay)
Supporters of reintroducing gray wolves to Colorado, a species humans had eradicated in the state by the 1940s, hope the move will restore balance to the region's ecosystem. (Wildfaces/Pixabay)
October 21, 2020

DENVER -- As part of this election, Colorado voters will decide whether to direct the state's Parks and Wildlife Commission to bring gray wolves back to their historical habitat.

John Murtaugh, Rockies and Plains representative for Defenders of Wildlife, said Proposition 114 would create space to craft a reintroduction plan based on the best available science, bringing ranchers, hunters, farmers and conservation groups to the table.

"It's very light on specifics," he said, "and that's because we recognize that those decisions need to be made through that communicative process, and that means bringing all the different stakeholders together."

Wolves were eradicated in Colorado by the 1940s through shooting, trapping and poisoning. Opponents of reintroduction have argued that wildlife-management decisions should be left to state experts, noting that the commission has declined to bring wolves back four times. Ranching and hunting associations also believe the move would lead to loss of livestock and big game.

Loss of livestock to wolves is rare, but Murtaugh admitted that the impact on individual ranchers can be significant, and the measure would create a compensation program. Murtaugh said previous commission decisions were not made by biologists, but by an 11-member, governor-appointed board that tends to be skewed politically.

"However, in the past 25 years, the people of Colorado have made it very clear their support for wolf reintroduction," he said. 'So what Proposition 114 really is doing is taking politics out of the picture, and returning that power to your average voter to decide what we want our parks-and-wildlife agency to do."

Between 66% and 84% of Coloradans surveyed over the past two decades support reintroducing wolves. Murtaugh said the primary reason people want the apex predator back is to restore ecological balance. For example, wolves can keep the state's rising elk population in check and moving, so grazing becomes more evenly distributed and vegetation can rebound.

"Wolves' primary prey are animals like elk," he said. "But in the absence of predators, elk don't have a lot of reason to stay moving. So, they'll find a nice patch of grass, and they tend to strip that vegetation down."

The text of Prop 114 is online at leg.colorado.gov, and the surveys are at extension.colostate.edu.

Disclosure: Defenders of Wildlife contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO