Initiative to introduce gray wolves makes Colorado ballot

This June 30, 2017 remote camera image released by the U.S. Forest Service shows a female gray wolf and her mate with a pup born in 2017 in the wilds of Lassen National Forest in Northern California. A ballot measure asking voters to approve a plan to reintroduce gray wolves to Colorado is slated for the 2020 election

DENVER | An initiative to reintroduce gray wolves to Colorado has qualified for the November ballot.

The secretary of state’s office said Monday that backers of the proposal turned in sufficient valid voter signatures to qualify the measure.

The gray wolf has been successfully reintroduced to a number of U.S. states. It was eradicated in Colorado in the 1940s.

Colorado ranchers and other interests strongly oppose the initiative, saying it would threaten livestock as well as elk, moose, deer and other animals.

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund is campaigning for the plan. It says voters have the opportunity to decide for themselves whether to introduce the wolf, whereas efforts in other states are directed by federal wildlife officials.

If passed, the initiative would direct the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to devise a plan to introduce wolves on public land west of the Continental Divide before 2024.