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Bill to reintroduce wolverines to Colorado advancing in legislature

DENVER (KDVR) — A bipartisan bill that will authorize Colorado Parks and Wildlife to reintroduce wolverines is advancing in the legislature.

“Our agency’s been working on this and thinking about this for decades,” mentioned Jake Ivan, wildlife analysis scientist for the CPW workplace in Fort Collins.

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The thought was offered again in the Nineteen Nineties. CPW was releasing American lynx again into Colorado, and wolverines had been supposed to be reintroduced on the identical time. But again then, CPW determined to deal with the lynx and revisit wolverines later.

That alternative got here once more in 2010 when conversations began up. CPW mentioned they’ve been planning ever since.

“We’ve been working pretty hard on this version of the bill since last fall,” Ivan mentioned. “Lots of meetings with interested stakeholders and folks like that. trying to get something together that everyone could sort of agree on was a good path forward.”

Wolverine sits in a meadowWolverine sits in a meadow

Wolverine sits in a meadow

Wolverines as soon as thrived in Colorado

According to Ivan, wolverines roamed the Colorado panorama a couple of century in the past, once they had been thriving.

“The reason they’re not here anymore is, we think at least, due to unregulated predator poisoning campaigns in the earlier part of the 20th century, late 19th century, and unregulated trapping,” Ivan mentioned.

If the invoice passes, it’s going to take a while earlier than the animals are on the bottom in Colorado.

“There’s a requirement that we get a 10(j) in place before we do any sort of restoration, which means that Colorado needs to be designated as a nonessential experimental population before we put animals on the ground,” Ivan mentioned, referring to a piece in the federal Endangered Species Act.

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There are additionally particular provisions that want to be checked out and addressed.

“Coming up with a communications plan, for instance, stakeholders, there’s a compensation fund that needs to get put together … we don’t expect livestock depredation to be much of a risk at all, but we have that in there just in case … and a few other provisions like that,” Ivan mentioned.

The wolverine lives at roughly 10,000 ft and is a comparatively small mammal, someplace across the measurement of a lynx and a big raccoon, with related diets.

According to CPW: “Wolverines are opportunistic feeders and eat a variety of foods available in their harsh, alpine environment: small rodents, rabbits, porcupines, ground squirrels, marmots, birds and eggs, fish, carrion and plants.”

Wolverines not recognized to assault livestock, people

Because of those components, Ivan mentioned the wolverine just isn’t recognized to assault people or livestock.

“No wolverine has ever attacked a human nor kids or pets or anything like that,” he mentioned. “And even on the livestock front, you know, we’ve queried all of our counterparts in other western states where they have wolverines, and over the last 50 years or so there’s, like, two instances of livestock depredations in that entire period that involve wolverines.”

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In the meantime, Ivan mentioned he hopes they are often launched in a approach that doesn’t upset what’s already right here.

“We’re confident we can do that and wolverines can live in 21st century Colorado without upsetting the apple cart too much for all of these other industries that, you know, that currently exist here in the state,” Ivan mentioned.

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