LISTEN TO THE AUDIO VERSION
By Amy Joi O’Donoghue
SALT LAKE CITY — Amid a few playful wolf howls by legislators, the Utah House of Representatives voted 54-13 on Friday to approve a resolution prohibiting the “artificial” introduction of the predator into Utah.
HCR19, sponsored by Rep. Logan Wilde, R-Croydon, makes clear Utah does not want wolves and does not want to go the way of its neighbor, Colorado, which has a voter initiative later this year on the ballot for the introduction of wolves into the state.
“What Colorado is doing will have impacts on us in this state,” said Rep. Casey Snider, R-Paradise, who said he strongly supports the resolution and is in “stark opposition” to the Colorado initiative.
Wilde said it is important to leave the management of species to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, which monitors big game populations and other animals in a comprehensive wildlife plan.
“The concerns we have is every time someone introduces something artificially without science behind it … we end up having to go in and declare that an invasive species,” Wilde said.
There are no documented cases of wolves presently in Utah.
Wilde said there are populations of the Mexican gray wolf south of Utah and the Rocky Mountain wolf north of the state, which serves as a buffer zone.
“What science has added is that if these two wolves start to co-mingle, breed together there will be a hybrid come out of this,” Wilde said.
Rep. Cory Maloy, R-Lehi, had concerns over the resolution.
“I am not sure I feel comfortable restricting the natural wolf (that) would be in this state or this area,” Maloy said.
The measure now moves to the Utah Senate.