In an unprecedented vote, Coloradans have voted to reintroduce gray wolves into their Mountain State. Just narrowly approved in November 2020, the stage is now set for the reintroduction of Canis lupus into the southern Rockies where plenty of suitable habitat remains for the apex predators.

Once expiated of wolves, Yellowstone is now one of the best places in the world to see wolves. Yellowstone is one of the best places in North America to see wildlife in general but be sure to plan around their mating and migration patterns.

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Colorado's Decision to Reintroduce Wolves

Now the ballot has been (narrowly) approved to move wolves into western Colorado. The last time wolves were in Colorado was in the 1940s when they were hunted to extinction.

  • First: This Is the First Time Colorado Has Voted To Reintroduce An Animal

The effort is to be led by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department with the goal of establishing a sustainable population in the state. It is set to begin in 2022 or 2023. It is expected that the Southern Rocky Mountains will be able to support several hundred wolves - or even more.

  • Southern Rocky Mountains: Has Millions of Acres of Suitable Habitat
  • When: Begin in 2022 or 2023
  • Vote Results: 50.9% Yes, 49.09% No

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The Expiation of Wolves From the Lower 48

Wolves were once widespread through much of the Lower 48 but then they were killed and their habitat destroyed as settlers moved west. As their prey and their habitat were destroyed, they started to prey on livestock and so they were brought into conflict with settlers.

Much of the eradication of the wolves in the United States was government-sponsored. In the end, only a small population clung on in the Great Lakes region.

  • Endangered Species List: Wolves Listed In The 1970s

They were shot, trapped, and poisoned and even the early park rangers in newly formed National Parks like Yellowstone took part in killing them. These early rangers considered the wolves destructive as they kill elk and other animals - unfortunately, the interdependency of species and how ecosystems work was not known to them back then.

Concerns about Reintroducing Wolves

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Next: Want To Make The Most Of Your Stay In Yellowstone National Park? Consider A Wildlife Tour