The Bent County Commissioners voted unanimously last week to oppose the re-introduction of gray wolves to Colorado.
The ballot initiative that the commissioners voted to oppose will pose the question of whether the Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission should create a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves to Colorado by the end of 2023 to voters this November.
The exact location of where the re-introductions would take place if voted yes would be determined by the commission. The commission also would manage any distribution of state funds to "pay fair compensation to owners of livestock’" who may lose livestock due to the reintroduction.
Other couinties have voted to oppose the idea. However, that isn’t the only reason for the county's resistance to gray wolf reintroduction.
“Part of the reason that we’re objecting to this is, in other states where that has happened, the amount of wildlife goes down drastically and being a rural community, not only is it wildlife, but it's our livestock,” Commissioner Jean Sykes said.
Another concern she gave was that the gray wolf is more aggressive than coyotes. In the resolution, the other concerns listed were the estimated $800,000 cost to implement the program in 2021 and 2022 alone.
The opposition of reintroduction by the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife over the past 37 years also played a role, as well as opposition by the Colorado Farm Bureau and R-CALF.
In other news from the meeting, Crystal Hansen gave updates on the Bent County Early Learning Center and announced that there will be an Education Fair on March 26, at Las Animas Elementary school, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The next Bent County Commissioners meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday at the Bent County Courthouse.