A North American wolverine. Credit: National Park Service

Colorado will Soon Re-Introduce Wolverines into the Wild

[Insert Red Dawn joke here]

A bipartisan group of state senators in Colorado sent a bill to restore wolverines in the state to the governor's desk last week, according to an announcement from state Democrats.

The measure Restoration of Wolverines, or SB24-171, will authorize the state division of Parks & Wildlife to re-introduce the animal onto state lands and develop management plans. Additionally, the agency will have to create rules for providing payments to livestock owners if wolverines attack or kill any cattle.

"Wolverines were a natural part of Colorado's landscape for centuries and it's long past time for us to bring them back and help play our part in restoring this threatened species and improving the health of our mountain ecosystem," said Sen. Dylan Roberts, a Democrat representing Frisco, which is just west of Denver.

According to Colorado wildlife officials, there are only about 400 wolverines in the lower 48 states, which qualifies them to be on the list of threatened species by the federal government.

Sen. Perry Will, a Republican from New Castle, located east of Rifle, said he was happy the measure was "not ... done with ballot-box-biology," a reference to how the state decided to re-introduce wolves into the state despite opposition by other Republicans.

"This bill ensures the reintroduction of wolverines is done responsibly in a process that is science-based and transparent," Will said.