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Wolf depredation: Utah wants Colorado to pay for future losses

Colorado received thousands of public comments about its wolf management plan. Only one came from another state government: Utah.

COLORADO, USA — Thursday, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission meets to put final touches on its wolf management plan.  

The state has to reintroduce wolves by the end of this year, because that's what voters decided in 2020

Before the plan is finalized, CPW has to review thousands of public comments. 

In total, CPW received more than 4,000 comments. 9NEWS read through about 600 pages of letters from organizations like government agencies, nonprofits, and tribes. 

About half of the 4,000 comments came from people who live out of state, but only one came from another state government: Utah. 

Utah's concerns

"Gray wolf restoration will therefore likely impose considerable management burdens on Utah," says a letter signed by Utah Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Joel Ferry.

The letter expresses concerns about a wolf moving into Utah.  

"It is possible a wolf originating from Colorado's introduction could attack livestock in Utah. Where direct financial impact occurs through predation on livestock, Utah requests that the Colorado compensation fund reimburse Utah livestock owners," Ferry wrote.

Ferry wrote Utah wants gray wolves to stop being designated as an endangered species, but meanwhile, "Utah is opposed to any new wolf introduction while the species remains federally listed under the Endangered Species Act," he wrote. 

The letter expresses concerns about gray wolves moving into areas where Mexican wolves live, resulting in the two species cross-breeding.

Ferry's office, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox's office, and a Division of Wildlife Resources spokesperson all declined on-camera interviews with 9NEWS. 

"They feel it would be inappropriate at this time while discussions with Colorado officials are ongoing. DWR's leadership believes it would be more appropriate a little further down the road, once discussions have concluded. I'd suggest you reach to Colorado's wildlife division for comment seeing this a Colorado policy matter," a Utah DNR spokesperson said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife also would not agree to an on-camera interview with 9NEWS.  

"We are currently in the process of reviewing, analyzing and cataloging the thousands of comments we’ve received. It would be inappropriate to single out a few of the thousands of comments for a response at this time," a spokesperson said.

You can read the whole letter from Utah here:

Tribal concerns

The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe also wrote to express their concerns. 

Their letter is here:

The Southern Ute Tribe also wrote to express concerns about wolves killing too many elk. 


Colorado's first wolf management draft plan proposed compensating a rancher up to $8,000 if a wolf kills or injures livestock, or a guard or herding animal. It's unclear whether or not that proposal covered animals in other states.

Many of the public comments asserted that amount was not enough. Thursday, the CPW Commission will review a new management plan draft, which could compensate a rancher up to $30,000 total for the death or injury, plus veterinary expenses. 

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