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CPW ‘must do better’ on wolves

I would like to believe that Colorado Parks and Wildlife is an honest broker in the wolf reintroduction plan, but evidence keeps suggesting it is not doing all it can to counter misinformation regarding wolves. In fact, its personnel can be agents of confusion.

At the Nov. 17 CPW commission meeting, Travis Black, Northwest Regional Manager, blamed wolves for the deaths of 40 cows near Meeker, even though both he and CPW know better. When CPW initially investigated, it found 18 dead calves, which had hemorrhaging and contusions “consistent with wolf attacks.” Black stated that the agency set up camera traps, conducted DNA scat analysis and used wolf calls but found no evidence of wolf presence.

When more dead calves materialized, a veterinarian concluded that bacteria caused the cattle to sicken and die. As Black phrased it, this bacteria-borne illness was likely, “exacerbated by wolves or some other nature event.” Really? Based on what? Again, CPW has found nothing that would indicate wolf involvement.

CPW sent tissue samples to the veterinary schools of Colorado State University and Texas A&M. According to Black, neither identified anything implicating wolves. Yet despite a complete lack of evidence, Black continued his specious accusations, “Maybe wolves spooked and injured the livestock.” I would say that Black is the one doing the spooking.

CPW can and must do better. Its personnel have a particular responsibility regarding wolves to present factual information and not engage in speculation that inflames rather than informs.

Clint McKnight