Durango Telegraph - Wolves in the San Juans
Wolves in the San Juans

Will wolves ever roam local hills? Conservationists believe so and argue that the San Juans are a vital link in bringing the predators back from the brink.

“Ultimately, I think the greater San Juan Mountains are vitally important to wolf recovery. Wolves are also equally important to the San Juans,” Rob Edward, director of carnivore recovery for the group WildEarth Guardians, has said.

Edward cited the reintroduction of wolves to the Northern Rockies as a biological milestone, a move that restored the natural balance and enhanced the health of the ecosytem. The predators are essential to healthy herds of ungulates – elk and deer – and by association, healthy flora on the ground, he added.

“It’s time to weave wolves back into the landscape of Colorado and northern New Mexico,” said Edward.

Reintroduction aside, wolves may find their own way to local pastures. With wolves already making their way into Colorado from the Northern Rockies and the restoration of the Mexican gray wolf recovery south of Colorado, local howls are not far off. “Either Mexican wolves will move north or the main line of wolves in the Northern Rockies will move south,” said Matt Kenna, of the Western Environmental Law Center. “The habitat is here and waiting in the San Juans. Without an active extermination program, the wolf will eventually come back.”

– Will Sands

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