Not all in CPW oppose wolves

To the editor,

As a former Colorado Division of Wildlife (before the merger with Parks) employee and part of the staff involved in the development of Colorado’s existing plan for managing wolves ( Species/SpeciesOfConcern/Wolf/recomendations.pdf) I wanted to help clarify a statement in a Jan. 9, Durango Telegraph on the wolf restoration effort (“Call of the Wild / Wolves going to the ballot box.”)

The last paragraph states in part, “state wildlife managers have also come out opposed to releasing wolves. In 2016, Colorado Parks and Wildlife commissioners voted against any sort of formal wolf reintroduction.” It’s important to understand that the Wildlife Commission is a  governor-appointed political body that develops and directs policy for the agency. That’s perfectly appropriate, but the Commission members are not biologists or professional wildlife managers. While I don’t know what the views of all professional biologists in the agency are, some (and perhaps many) support the restoration of wolves to Colorado.

Some of the folks opposed to wolf restoration disparage the initiative as “ballot box biology.” It’s not ... it’s ballot box policy making, which is as it should be. Biology informs wildlife management decisions, but very few of those decisions can or should be made on the basis of biology alone; politics are a necessary part of the process.

Just as the Commission has stated its policy, the voters of Colorado have the right to state theirs. That’s why the initiative process exists.

– Gary T. Skiba, Aztec