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Colorado could get 15 more gray wolves next winter. The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe has concerns

 The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's council chambers are pictured here on December 1, 2023.
Chris Clements / KSJD
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's council chambers are pictured here on December 1, 2023.

As many as 15 gray wolves could be reintroduced to Colorado’s Western Slope next winter, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

It’s a move that concerns the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in southwest Colorado.

CPW reached an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation last week to collect the wolves on the tribes’ land in eastern Washington, to be released in Colorado after December 2024.

Ten wolves from Oregon were released in Colorado last month, the first batch under a reintroduction plan following a successful ballot measure in 2020.

However, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe says they were never properly consulted about the decision to reintroduce wolves to the state or the potential impacts it could have on the sovereign nation.

Manuel Heart is chairman of the tribe and said he’s worried about the depredation of already-dwindling herds of cattle and horses.

Heart said tribal members routinely bring their herds to the tribe’s land in Gunnison County, like the 20,000 acre Pinecrest Ranch, which is near to where the next batch of wolves is likely to be released.

“The state of Colorado failed to notify both the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian tribes," Heart said. "When they went through that initiative of the public voting on that — from the state of Colorado citizens — we were not included in that process.”

The Colorado plan calls for releasing 30 to 50 wolves on the Western Slope in the next three to five years.
Copyright 2024 KSJD.

Chris Clements
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