MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation committed more than $300,000 toward efforts to defeat a dangerous 2020 ballot initiative to forcibly introduce wolves into Colorado. In addition to the significant funding for multiple forms of educational outreach, RMEF also contributed in-kind donations of staffing and video production as well as member donations.
“This is not just about simply checking a box on a ballot. Proposition 114 would have significant, long-lasting, detrimental impacts on both wildlife and Coloradans,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We are doing everything in our power to help educate Colorado voters about the very real costs that a forced introduction of an apex predator would have on wildlife management, wildlife populations, the hunting industry, ranchers and the pocketbooks of taxpayers who will be left to foot the bill.”
Why RMEF cares:
- Colorado is home to North America’s largest elk herd.
- Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 790 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Colorado with a combined value of more than $178.2 million. These projects protected or enhanced 469,886 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 122,107 acres.
- RMEF and its partners recently granted $2,571,838 in 2020 funding to benefit elk, scientific research and wildlife habitat enhancement in Colorado.
- RMEF has more members in Colorado (nearly 17,000) than any other state.
“It is also important to understand the same out-of-state environmental groups funding this forced wolf introduction also filed lawsuit after lawsuit to try to stop management of wolves in the Northern Rockies. It took an act of Congress to finally stop them,” added Weaver. “One of those groups also filed a lawsuit just last summer seeking to force the government to introduce grizzly bears into Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona (including the Grand Canyon) and six other states.”
- Wolves are already confirmed on the ground in northwest Colorado with at least one wolf pup spotted by a biologist.
- Colorado currently has a wolf management plan in place for naturally migrating wolves.
- Colorado’s professional wildlife managers spent $1 million studying wolf introduction over the years and rejected the idea four different times.
- A forced introduction would cost $6 million in new spending during a time when COVID-19 impacts forced lawmakers to compensate for $3 billion in state budget losses that included massive cuts to education.
- Proponents are offering zero dollars in funding for actual wolf introduction/management.
- In 2018 alone, Wyoming taxpayers paid $1.5 million for wolf management while Washington taxpayers paid $1.2 million. The same would follow in Colorado.
- As they did in the Northern Rockies, wolves would spread far and wide across Colorado, into Rocky Mountain National Park and into surrounding states.
- Of the 17 Colorado elk management units already under population objective, 13 of those are in the western or southwestern part of the state.
- Of the 47 deer management units that are under objective, 41 of those are west of the Divide.
- Wolves will severely impact Colorado’s fledgling moose population currently estimated at only 3,000.
- Wolves will negatively impact farming and ranching, livestock and pets.
- Proponents used more than $1 million in out-of-state funding to get the measure on the ballot. They also used an out-of-state firm (Utah) to oversee the effort.
Go here to find additional detailed information about the initiative and its impacts.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 36 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.9 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.