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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

Wolves in Colorado ‘not the devil incarnate’

Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Wolf Project

Montana State Sen. Mike Phillips has been a part of efforts across the country to restore populations of wolves. He was recently involved in their reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park, and is now launching the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, with a goal of bringing the apex predators back to Colorado. Elizabeth Stewart-Severy sat down with Phillips earlier this month to discuss what wolf recovery in this state could look like.

Grey wolves can wander long distances, but they often don’t, according to Phillips, who also co-founded the Turner Endangered Species Fund.

“Waiting on natural recolonization (of wolves) to occur is a fool’s errand,” Phillips said.

Credit Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Wolf Project
Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Wolf Project
Montana state senator and wolf advocate Mike Phillips says Western Colorado is prime territory to reintroduce grey wolves.


Phillips is launching the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project in early 2017, with an eye on reintroducing wolves in western Colorado. Restoring the population of these predators would have invaluable benefits, he said.

“From a spiritual perspective, from a moral perspective, wolves in Colorado would be the last piece of a 40-plus year restoration puzzle that we have been assembling that would result in grey wolves being reestablished all up and down the Rocky Mountains from the high Arctic to the Mexican border,” Phillips said.

Listen here to the complete conversation.

Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.
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