Letters: 1/21/16

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Colorado Wildlife Commission is stacked with business lobbyists

The article by Caitlin Rockett [Re: “A turning point,” Jan. 7] expertly reveals the lopsided role played by the Colorado Wildlife Commission composed mostly of lobbyists for the ranching, hunting, and fossil fuel industries that work against wildlife in Colorado. The article documents the failure of this stacked commission to consider the available science with regard to reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf into its native habitat in southern Colorado. As described in the article, members of the commission, appointed by Governor Hickenlooper, largely represent these industries and consistently side against maintaining essential wildlife habitat in our state necessary for endangered wildlife such as the gray wolf. The extent of this deception is illustrated from the employment background of the current chairman of the commission, Chris Castilian, who earns his living as manager for government and community relations for Anadarko Petroleum. Castilian, like many of the other lobbyists on the commission, has actively opposed the wishes of the great majority of Coloradans who favor reintroduction of the gray wolf (including the subspecies Mexican wolf) in our state. These lobbyists do the bidding of commercial entities in the state who stubbornly oppose the reestablishment of wildlife habitats that may pose a potential conflict with their unfettered exploitation of our land by ranching and fossil fuel interests.

I have witnessed the anti-wildlife agenda of the commission in 2015 when I presented to them in support of a submitted citizen petition to establish a one-mile moose hunting exclusion zone around Brainard Lake. While the commission eventually conceded to allow a much smaller no hunting exclusion zone, the resentment of several members of this commission against the non-hunting public during these hearings was evident.

By establishing this lopsided commission, Governor Hickenlooper thumbs his nose against the majority of voters who support wildlife in Colorado, including the reestablishment of a few natural ecosystems in our state that can support endangered species such as the Mexican gray wolf. The only solution to this lopsided commission is for the Governor to change the composition of the commission to include a 50:50 balance of pro-business lobbyists with an equal number of credible wildlife scientists and knowledgeable advocates for wildlife that will consider the available scientific literature when making policy decisions, as well as the wishes of the majority of Coloradans who enjoy and support our wildlife. Furthermore, the budget of Colorado Parks and Wildlife should be shifted from funding via hunting licenses to a larger monetary component taken from the general budget. Only then will we enter into the 21st century with regard to supporting our greatest wildlife asset to reflect the growing importance of tourism and personal enjoyment by the general public.

Thomas Gootz, Ph.D./Estes Park, CO

Protecting and preserving the Mexican Gray Wolf species in Colorado

I write this message on behalf of my aunt who is the greatest wolf advocate that I know [Re: “A turning point,” Jan. 7]. She lives in South Africa, and I think it suffices to say that if this is an important and concerning issue to her, then it must be taken into consideration.

I read the article from your website and I find it important that the following points are made in order to ensure that the Mexican gray wolves well-being is taken into consideration.

First of all, the wolves are native to the Colorado area and there is scientific evidence to prove that.

However, the question of whether or not they are native to the area does not change the fact that they have the right to roam in the area according to the Endangered Species Act.
Similarly, it is something that the people largely support. Recent polls have shown that voters are in favor of reintroducing the wolves to the area.

These wolves are in dire need of a stable habitat in which they can thrive and they can bring their numbers back to where they used to be. This can only be achieved on the long run by reintroducing them into the area.

Lastly, the reintroduction of these wolves into the area will strengthen the game species and make the landscape and the ecosystem as a whole stronger. There are not many wolves that would need to be reintroduced anyway, there were only 109 wild Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and 25 in New Mexico. That’s it!

I really appreciate your time in reading this letter. I am hopeful that it will make a difference.

Savannah Aigner/New Redruth, Alberton

Mexican Wolves must be respected

I am not a citizen of your great state but I have followed the ongoing battle and disinformation campaign regarding the reintroduction and maintenance of Mexican gray wolves [Re: “A turning point,” Jan. 7].

It is hard for me to understand why anyone does not recognize the importance of all the creatures in the food chain. After all, Mother Nature or God, if you prefer, doesn’t make mistakes. Therefore, wolves were put here and evolved with a specific purpose in mind and we, humans, are upsetting that balance of nature. I believe we will suffer for our arrogance and greed, maybe not us, personally but, our grandchildren and their children.
My children were taught to respect all living creatures. My grandchildren know how important I consider that trait, as well. A few of them, the grandchildren, are hunters. They only kill for food and nothing goes to waste. They don’t begrudge the wolves their place at the table. A couple of the grandchildren have traveled to your state to hunt. They are not against having wolves in the same area.

I am respectively requesting that you all make the reintroduction of wolves a priority and serious penalties be applied for the wanton killing of these intelligent creatures. Expecting your support.

Elizabeth Angus/Winter Haven, Florida

  • Hair Trigger

    By establishing this lopsided commission, Governor Hickenlooper thumbs his nose against the majority of voters who support …
    Same for all of us who worked so hard for a state fracking law as an initiative. Hick’s deal with Polis to not file the overwhelming number of petition signatures was to create an Advisory Commission to another commission that has the say so and is stacked with oil company executives, more than lobbyists. Hick’s gift. He’s not a brewer, but a geologist.

    • Caitlin Rockett

      Approved