With Colorado’s gray wolf reintroduction deadline looming, the state just received some good news regarding gray wolf management. This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) finalized a rule, 10j, that will allow the state to create its own rules for what’s considered a “nonessential experimental population,” according to Channel 9 News.
This is a big step for the reintroduction effort in a measure that was approved by voters back in 2020, which requires Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to reintroduce wolves to the state by Dec. 31, 2023.
CPW announced on Twitter/X that “10j gives us gray wolf management flexibility,” which includes determining when it will be permissible to kill a problem wolf.
10j was supported by local ranchers who, per the state’s management plan, will be allowed to kill wolves if they catch one “actively trying to kill livestock,” according to Channel 9 News. Without this rule in place, the only legal way a wolf could be killed is to save a human life since they are federally protected.
“This final rule respects the will of Colorado voters, farmers, ranchers and conservationists, and sets our state up for responsible gray wolf reintroduction,” said U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colorado.
The rule will only apply to wolves reintroduced later this year – not those already in the state.