California’s Tides Center, which supports progressive causes, donated $381,000 to the campaign. Others involved in the effort to pass Proposition 114 include the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, the National Resources Defense Council, Rocky Mountain Wild and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Jason Blevins

Colorado Sun

Proposition 114 explained: What’s at stake with the effort to reintroduce gray wolves in Colorado

There are gray wolves to the north and gray wolves to the south. 

Colorado voters will decide in November whether the roaming predators should have a home in the middle of the country. 

Proposition 114 asks voters to direct Colorado Parks and Wildlife to reintroduce wolves in western Colorado beginning in 2023. The idea is that connecting wolf populations in the Northern Rockies with packs in the south will enable recovery of a species that was nearly hunted to extinction in the early 1900s.

Few topics raise hackles like wolves in the West. Farmers, ranchers and big-game hunters fear the predators will wreak havoc on livestock and hunting economies. Wolf advocates see Colorado as the critical final step in a 40-year effort to return wolves to the Lower 48.  

In those four decades gray wolf populations have grown in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Mexican wolves are thriving in New Mexico and Arizona. In the Great Lakes region, reintroduction efforts have fostered a population of more than 6,000 gray wolves. 

Reintroduction work has been guided in all of those states by recovery plans under the Endangered Species Act, which has protected gray wolves since 1978. State wildlife managers in the Northern Rockies, Southwest and Great Lakes region followed federal laws that required reintroduction of the threatened species.

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Who is behind the ballot campaign

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, an issue committee formed to push the ballot measure’s passage, has raised more than $1.7 million in the past two years. It has spent most of that haul and had only about $19,000 heading into the campaign’s final stretch.

One donor, Richard Pritzlaff, has given more than $254,000 to the issue committee alone. He’s the president of the Biophilia Foundation, which operates out of New Mexico and Maryland. The foundation’s website says the nonprofit is “premised on the belief that only private landowners’ efforts to restore and protect natural resources, especially wildlife habitat, will recover the living resources of the degraded lands and watersheds of our country.” 

Pritzlaff’s LinkedIn page says he serves as a board member for the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund.

Timothy Ferriss, an entrepreneur and media personality who lives in Texas, has donated about $122,000 to the committee. 

California’s Tides Center, which supports progressive causes, donated $381,000 to the campaign. 

Others involved in the effort to pass Proposition 114 include the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, the National Resources Defense Council, Rocky Mountain Wild and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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