Opinion: Barry R. Noon: Wolves could benefit deer and elk populations in Colorado – Boulder Daily Camera

By Barry R. Noon

Gray wolves, a key component of Colorado’s natural heritage, are noticeably absent from the state’s landscape. Their absence reflects a long history of human persecution and intolerance. For example, many hunter advocacy groups view the re-establishment of a viable wolf population in Colorado as a threat to hunter success and to the abundance of deer, elk and moose (collectively called ungulates).

Unfortunately, the myth that wolves would compromise the health and vitality of ungulate populations in Colorado is as misguided and inaccurate as it is deep-seated.

Hunters have legitimate reasons to be concerned about the future of ungulate populations, but predation by wolves, or other predators, should not be part of their worries. Currently, the greatest threats faced by deer and elk result from the loss and fragmentation of winter range (a consequence of exurban encroachment and oil and gas development), declines in habitat quality arising from climate change (increasing temperatures and drought stress affecting food plants), increased poaching rates (particularly high near areas of oil and gas development), and an increasing prevalence of chronic wasting disease.
via Opinion: Barry R. Noon: Wolves could benefit deer and elk populations in Colorado – Boulder Daily Camera

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