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Dublin: 17°C Thursday 29 July 2021

US state of Colorado votes to reintroduce wolves

The apex predator disappeared from the state in the 1940s.

Image: Shutterstock/Vlada Cech

THE PEOPLE OF Colorado have voted in favour of reintroducing wolves to the US state. 

The passing of Proposition 114 tasks the parks and wildlife commission with having to plan by 2023 for an arrangement to reintroduce gray wolves to Colorado’s western mountains.

It is hoped that the idea will provide a bridge between grey wolf populations in the north and south of the country, helping the species rebound, some 80 years after they disappeared from the state. 

Backers of the idea, say the presence of an apex predator can have a massively beneficial trickle-down effect on an ecosystem – as documented in Yellowstone in the US, where wolves were brought back in the mid-1990s.

Despite the opposition of Colorado’s farmers, ranchers and big game hunters, the proposition passed with a narrow margin of 50.3% to 49.7%, split along urban and rural lines. 

The question of the reintroduction of wolves is one that’s been raised in Ireland, with Eamon Ryan, leader of the Green Party, calling for the reintroduction of the predator to help rewild parts of the countryside last October. But the idea was rejected by then Culture Minister, Josepha Madigan, who said the government had no plans to do so.

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Ryan’s comments came after an episode of TheJournal.ie’s Ireland 2029 podcast in August examined the debate around the reintroduction of wolves into Ireland in detail.

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Adam Daly

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