If you want to see what’s wrong with the current urban v. rural divide in this country, I have one word for you: Wolf. Excerpt:
Proposition 114, creating a new statute that requires the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to undertake introducing as many as 500 gray wolves into western Colorado, and orders the state legislature to find the money to fund both the program and livestock depredation claims caused by wolves, has apparently been approved by a narrow margin of less than 1%.
As of Thursday night there are 1,513,237 votes in favor and 1,487,151 against for a difference of 26,086 votes, or a 0.982% margin in favor of the initiative.
The counts are not final, and according to the Secretary of State’s election results website, post-election day tabulations are still in progress, no final tabulations are complete and no counties have certified the results.
Urban counties, including Denver, El Paso, Boulder, Larimer, Jefferson, Broomfield, Adams, and Arapahoe County provided the bulk of yes votes.
The rest of the counties, with the exception of traditional Democrat strongholds including Summit, Pitkin, San Miguel, San Juan and La Plata, voted against the reintroduction. As the Grand Junction ABC affiliate reports, roughly 62% of Western Slope voters said no to the measure, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Front Range voter advantage.
In a press release, Michael Robinson, a senior conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity said, “This is a great victory for wolves coming on the heels of Trump’s illegal action to remove federal protection, and it will help restore the natural balance in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.”
Opponents and wildlife experts strongly disagree.
“We’re trapping them in their ecosystems up in Canada, where they can roam millions of acres never seeing a human being, and we’re dropping them into a state of six million people,” said Ted Harvey, campaign director for Stop the Wolf PAC. “I guarantee you that there’s going to be conflict, whether it’s with cars, trucks, or ranchers protecting their property. I can assure you who’s going to win that conflict, and it won’t be the wolves.”
Here’s the thing; the people in those urban counties that voted for this don’t give a shit, because they will never be affected by wolves in a populated area, and probably will never even set foot in any of the areas affected. It’s an emotional thing for them – “People = bad, wolf = good” and there’s an end of it.
The hell of it is, wolves have already spread naturally into Colorado. Several individuals have been seen in the northwestern part of the state, and if left to their own devices, they’ll spread, naturally, into areas suited for them. But this introduction probably won’t go the way people think it will.
I’ve spent time in areas where there are wolves. On the couple of trips I took into the Boundary Waters area between Minnesota and Canada, one of them a solo trip, I heard wolves howling almost every night. It’s a beautiful sound. I want there to be wolves – in the wild places, where they belong. They don’t belong around human-settled areas.
Not only are wolves apex predators and pack hunters, they are a wilderness animal. Part of the reason wolves spread slowly is that they generally don’t do well around people; being an apex predator, the ones with less innate wariness of humans tend to drift into taking advantage of some of the easy food sources humans provide, like our livestock and our pets.
This ballot initiative was a stupid idea, and most of the folks who voted for it, frankly, have no idea what the hell they were doing.