Reintroducing wolves not a part of agency’s elk management plans

To the editor:

There has been some recent speculation that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intends to reintroduce wolves in the San Luis Valley to help manage elk and other species. 

It is important to set the record straight: The service, in fact, has no plans and no intent to reintroduce wolves in the valley.

The confusion about the service’s intent arose from a draft plan to manage overabundant elk populations affecting vital wildlife habitat on the San Luis Valley’s national wildlife refuges. The draft plan references a suggestion by some members of the public that the service consider wolves as a potential management tool. By law, the service is required to analyze the comments and suggestions we receive.

We do not, however, believe that wolf reintroduction is the appropriate management strategy for this area. We have instead put forward three other options — including public hunting, which we believe will help ensure that the wildlife refuges in the San Luis Valley continue to provide high-quality habitat for elk and other species — as well as recreational and economic benefits for local communities.

 We encourage members of the public and our partners to review and comment on this important draft plan as we work to finalize it over the next two years. We’re committed to ensuring that the San Luis Valley’s land, water and wildlife remain the pride of Colorado and the nation for years to come.

Steve Guertin

Mountain-Prairie Region director

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service