200,000+ signatures submitted in favor of wolf reintroduction in Colorado

Restore the Howl!

Backers of a proposal to reintroduce gray wolves to western Colorado turned in 211,000 signatures for a measure that would put the measure on the ballot.

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund said in a Tuesday news conference that the measure has ‘widespread bipartisan support,” claiming two-thirds of the state supports wolf reintroduction. “This marries wildlife, conservation and direct democracy,” said Rob Edwards, the head of the group.

Its the first ballot measure seeking the reintroduction of an endangered species, he said.

The initiative directs Colorado Parks and Wildlife “to develop, after public input, a science-based plan for reintroducing wolves to Western Colorado by 2023.”

Gray wolves, an endangered species, haven’t found a home in Colorado since the 1940s, according to Joanna Lambert, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Should voters approve the measure, Colorado would be the last state to restore the species to its public lands, she said. This would bring back a “true American species,” Lambert said, and in a way that is “respectful to the needs and concerns of all Coloradans.” Read more at Outdoor Colorado

Photo Credit: Antagain (iStock).

What you need to know about a ballot effort to bring wolves back to Colorado

Should voters make this call of the wild?

By Alesandra Tejeda The Cololrado Independent

Over the next month, an army of volunteers will continue fanning across the state making sure they’ve gathered enough signatures to put a much-debated question on the November 2020 ballot: Should voters reintroduce gray wolves onto public lands in western Colorado where they once roamed but haven’t since the 1940s?

If volunteers successfully gather the necessary 124,632 signatures by Dec. 13, you could get a shot at deciding whether Colorado gets its wolves back along with whether to re-elect President Donald Trump or send a new U.S. senator to Washington. A group backing Initiative 107 says it already has enough signatures, but is gathering more just to be safe.

If the question makes the ballot, it will be the first time voters anywhere in the nation will decide whether to reintroduce gray wolves.

Photo credit NPS

What would the proposed ballot measure do?

If it passes, the new law starts a series of steps that would end with some eventual number of wolves being introduced onto public lands in the western part of the state. The ballot language also provides compensation for those who lose their livestock to wolves.

Initiative 107 would direct the Parks and Wildlife Commission to develop a plan to introduce wolves here “using the best scientific data available” and also to hold public hearings to gather “scientific, economic, and social considerations.”

The commission would have to figure out the details — how many wolves exactly, where they would come from, how they’d be managed, what the compensation program would look like — based on these hearings and testimony. The commission also would have to develop methodologies for determining when the gray wolf population is sustaining itself and “when to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered or threatened species” as provided by state law.

The plan would be to start reintroducing wolves to Colorado by 2023.

To read the full article click here.


Learn more about the plan at The Rocky Mountain Wolf Project Click here.


Wolves to the Rescue: Wolf reintroduction is a much needed solution to Japan’s deer problems.

Ôkami (Canus lupus hodophylax) once roamed the boreal forests of Japan. The last Japanese wolf fell prey to hunters in 1905. Now 5,900 sika deer roam the forests and valleys of the Shiretoko Peninsula. Narumi Nambu is working to reintroduce the wolf to Japan.

“An apex predator is essential for sustainability of an ecosystem, and in Japan it was a wolf,” she writes in an email. Nambu volunteers for the Japan Wolf Association. Her work earned her the “Who Speaks for Wolf” award at the International Wolf Symposium in Minnesota, where she recently spoke.”

She explained that, without the presence of natural predators like wolves, two-thirds of Japan’s 30 national parks are showing signs of deer-induced injury.”

Narumi Nambu was the Who Speaks for Wolf Award winner in 2018. She is pictured here with her husband, Hiroshi Asakura. Photo by Kelly Godfrey http://www.wolf.org

Ôkami is the Japanese name for the creature commonly called the Japanese Wolf (Canus lupus hodophylax), which became extinct in 1905.

Deer take over the city streets in Nara Japan.

Sacred deer of Nara Japan.

In Nara, the legend goes that a god of thunder, Takemikazuchi, traveled from Ibaraki prefecture to Nara sometime in the 700s. It is said he first appeared on the top of a mountain riding on a white deer. Takemikazuchi became one of the deities enshrined at Nara’s Kasuga shrine, thus the deer inhabiting the surrounding forest were deemed messengers of the gods and decreed sacred. http://www.theculturetrip.com

Sacred to Nusance

Today Japan has a deer problem with 197684.305 acres in damages, of which 77 percent is caused by deer according to a 2016 report by Japan’s Forestry Agency. The damage to Japan’s forests by deer totaled $53 million.

The Benevolent Ôkami

Before western culture arrived to Japan the Ôkami (Canus lupus hodophylax) was a benevolent influence in Japanese culture. Wolves kept deer and rabbits out of the rice patties. Wolves were worshipped as deities for protecting Japanese rice patties. But were soon killed off during Japan’s industrialization in the late 19th century.

An Ezo wolf, Hakkaido wolf, illustration. Public domain.

Restoring Ecological Balance to Japan’s Forests

“It is a situation retired professor Naoki Maruyama hopes to fix. The chairman of the Japan Wolf Association, Maruyama believes that the reintroduction of wolves—extinct in Japan for the better part of a century—can help curb the damage caused by deer and restore ecological balance to affected regions of the country.” from How Do You Convince 125 Million People to Embrace Wolves by Allan Richarz

There are roughly 1.5 million deer in Japan a country around the size of California. California is approximately 403,882 sq km, while Japan is approximately 377,915 sq km.

Wolf Reintroduction in Japan

“For wolf advocates like Hiroshi Asakura, the biggest challenge is not finding wolves to translocate, but changing the mindset of the Japanese public. The Japan Wolf Association says that support for wolf reintroduction grew from 12.5 percent in 1993 to nearly 45 percent in 2016.“

Nambu is optimistic: “If people realize there is another way to reconcile with nature, they will be sure to choose that. It is co-existence with wolves.”


Sources: Could Reintroduction of Wolves Help Save Japan’s Forests?