Colorado Is Getting Its Wolves Back After Voters Approve Historic Law

George Dvorsky Nov. 6, 2020

Voters in Colorado have approved Proposition 114, forcing the state government to reintroduce the gray wolf. It’s the first time in U.S. history that a ballot measure win has obliged a state government to bring back a species that disappeared due to human actions.

With more than 90% of the vote counted, opponents of Proposition 114 have admitted defeat, reports the Denver Post. With the referendum won, state wildlife officials in Colorado will be required to develop an evidence-based recovery plan for wolves, which haven’t called the state home for decades. The proposition stipulates that grey wolves be restored to the mountainous portions of the state west of the continental divide by the end of 2023, with input from the public.

The passing of this ballot measure marks an important milestone, as it’s the first time that voters in a U.S. state have forced a state wildlife agency to restore a species through a referendum. That’s not a small thing, and it reflects a growing push to restore the balance of nature.

But it was close. Proposition 114 squeaked by with the support of 50.4% of those who voted for so-called “paws on the ground.” Denver and Boulder currently account for the 9% of votes that still need to be counted, but those regions are expected to favor the bill.

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