Wolves at Colorado's door?

  • DOWNING A DEER: Wolf and prey

    Mission: Wolf photo
  During a recent presentation at the University of Colorado by a Boulder-based wolf recovery organization, Sinapu, a captive-raised wolf named Rami was introduced to the audience. As Rami calmly walked up and down the aisles with her handler, sniffing boots and licking faces, audience members sat in awed silence.


Wolves, like many other predators, are romantic symbols of the wild. They are also political lightning rods. Restoration projects under way in the Yellowstone region, central Idaho and northern Arizona have faced years of opposition, and there's an ongoing controversy in Colorado over the reintroduction of a smaller predator, the endangered Canada lynx (HCN, 5/10/99).


Nevertheless, Sinapu has begun an effort to return the wolf to the Southern Rockies. After the federal Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that western Colorado could support over 1,000 wolves, Sinapu picked up where the agency left off, mapping potential wolf habitat based on prey availability, roadless areas, and public-land ownership. The final map represents two years of data-gathering and ongoing partnerships with various scientific groups and conservation organizations. Sinapu is also assembling a steering committee for its reintroduction project, and the group is continuing its educational outreach efforts. The Durango-based San Juan Citizens' Alliance, one of Sinapu's partners, is working on a proposal for the San Juan National Forest. Called the Wild San Juans Plan, it will be submitted as an alternative to the proposed Forest Service management plan.


Reintroduction supporters face huge political hurdles in Colorado, a state with a rancher-friendly legislature and a wildlife commission with a policy against wolves and grizzlies. Fred Wahl, who works on threatened and endangered species for the Forest Service, says he "can't see that (a reintroduction effort) would get very far." Federal agencies are reluctant to take up the battle, Wahl says, because the Fish and Wildlife Service has not identified Colorado as a wolf recovery zone.


Supporters of wolves, however, believe science and popular support will win out in the end. "In the early "80s, I couldn't imagine that in my lifetime there'd be wolves in Yellowstone, Montana and Idaho again," says Mark Pearson, coordinator of the Wild San Juans Plan. "Yet they've been there for years and are thriving."


For more information, contact Sinapu at 303/447-8655 or the San Juan Citizens' Alliance at 970/259-3583. - Catherine Lutz
High Country News Classifieds
  • INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS EDITOR
    High Country News seeks an editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk. This individual will lead a team of passionate journalists...
  • HIKING TO THE EDGE:
    Confronting Cancer in Rocky Mountain National Park. Poetry and photos on survival thinking. E-book and paperback available at Amazon.com.
  • OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has grown into America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more than...
  • IPLC RIGHTS AND EQUITY PROGRAM ASSOCIATE
    A LITTLE ABOUT US Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FUTURE WEST
    Future West seeks an executive director to lead this dynamic organization into the future. Based in Bozeman, MT this well-respected nonprofit provides communities in the...
  • PART-TIME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Mitchell Museum of the American Indian Location: Evanston, IL Salary Range: $45,000 @ 24 hours per week. send resume: [email protected] www.mitchellmuseum.org
  • COMMUNICATIONS LEAD
    Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is hiring! Who We Are: The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) is a small grassroots nonprofit based out of Juneau, Alaska,...
  • SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR
    Since 1989, The Nature Conservancy in Alaska has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on....
  • OUTDOOR PROGRAM - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
    St. Lawrence University seeks to fill the position of Assistant Director in the Outdoor Program. To view the complete position description, including minimum qualifications required,...
  • PUBLIC LANDS DIRECTOR
    Job Announcement Conserve Southwest Utah is seeking a dedicated advocate for conservation and public lands Public Lands Director a "make a difference" position Conserve Southwest...
  • FOR SALE
    Yellowstone Llamas Successful Yellowstone NP concession Flexible packages
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is seeking a full-time Director of Development & Marketing. This is a senior position responsible for the development of all marketing...
  • LEGAL DIRECTOR
    The Legal Director will work closely with the Executive Director in cultivating a renewed vision at NMELC that integrates diversity, equity, and justice. Black, Indigenous,...
  • VICE PRESIDENT, LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION
    The Vice President for Landscape Conservation leads Defenders' work to promote landscape-scale wildlife conservation, focusing on four program areas: federal public lands management; private lands...
  • NOVA SCOTIA OCEAN FRONT
    Camp or Build on 2+ acres in Guysborough. FSBO. $36,000 US firm. Laurie's phone: 585-226-2993 EST.
  • COMMUNITY FORESTER
    The Clearwater Resource Council located in Seeley Lake, Montana is seeking a full-time community forester with experience in both fuels mitigation and landscape restoration. Resumes...
  • GUNNISON BASIN ROUNDTABLE
    The Gunnison Basin Roundtable is currently accepting letters of interest for ten elected seats. Five of the elected members must have relevant experience in the...
  • PCTA TRAIL CREW TECHNICAL ADVISORS IN WASHINGTON'S NORTH CASCADES
    Seasonal Positions: June 17th to September 16th (14 weeks) - 3 positions to be filled The mission of the Pacific Crest Trail Association is to...
  • WE'RE LOOKING FOR LEADERS!
    As we celebrate 50 years of great Western journalism, High Country News is looking for a few new board members to help set a course...
  • WIND RIVER WRITERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS RETREAT BY THE NATIONAL BIGHORN SHEEP CENTER
    Enhance your writing or photography skills with world-class instructors in the beautiful Wind River Mountains. All skill levels welcome. Continuing education credits available.