The surprising reason behind the disappearance of wolves in Colorado

Apr 2, 2018Talking WILD, Wildlife

Grey wolf pair © Lori and Rich Rothstein

by Amy Lewis

Vice President of Communications & Development

And how you can help to undo a historic injustice and restore balance to Colorado’s landscapes

Something alienates us from more meaningful days, even as it clamps down on our delight in life and gratitude for the wonder of nature

Can you guess what it is?

Everywhere you go, it’s there, hidden in plain view. It’s carried on airwaves and spilling over the pages of magazines and newspapers. Swiftly, it’s creeping even now, a shadow cast on our most intimate conversations, spreading as a virus would, unnoticed until we fall ill, and sometimes, undiagnosed even then.

Like a virus, it settles into our bodies. We experience it as the tightness in our chests, shallow breaths, the relentless pressure constricting our imaginations.

When we succumb to it, we forget what makes us strong.

When we succumb to it, we forget what makes the world strong.

It’s fear. And for millennia it has been used by narrow interests to rationalize countless injustices, including the destruction of Earth’s irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind wildlife.

Including the destruction of the wolf and the Colorado wildlands that are its birthright.



Like the wolf, I too am a native of Colorado. I was born here, in Colorado Springs, at Fort Carson Army Hospital. I am proud to be an Army brat and a daughter of the West. My grandfather, who won a Bronze Star in service to his country and graduated with a degree in agricultural sciences from Colorado State University, he was born here too, on a farm in the San Luis Valley. And when he drew his last breath, he drew it in Colorado’s Saint Vrain Valley.

I am Colorado through and through, like my grandfather.

Like the wolf.

And I am committed to living a fearless life, one that honors my grandfather, and makes me strong.

A life that makes Colorado strong.

That is why I am supporting the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project. The good people over there are committed to restoring Colorado to its ecological heritage, using science and education to dispel baseless fears that weaken Colorado and alienate the citizens of this state from the source of our strength and identity as Coloradoans.

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Project is using the highest quality data to retell the story of the wolf and help Coloradoans rediscover the true wild ecology of the Rocky Mountains, an ecology that makes Colorado unique from every other place on Earth.



Wild nature unites us. It is the one thing that we, as Coloradoans, share that makes us distinct from every other place. From it, Colorado was born, and in this sense those who live here are all connected. Through our state’s vast and one-of-a-kind nature we are related, brother and sister, each to all, people and wildlife combined.

When the wolf vanished from Colorado, we didn’t just lose a species, we lost a member of Colorado’s family.

We now have an opportunity to help undo a grievous wrong to Colorado, and reintroduce the citizens of our state to their natural heritage by supporting the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project’s mission. In the month of April, you may invest in their mission by supporting a kick-off crowdfunding campaign. All donations will be matched, dollar-for-dollar.

Who among you will join me in supporting the fearless work of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project?


Yes, I want help scientists retell the story of the wolf in Colorado.


The WILD Foundation is a proud member of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, and is working with dozens of other Colorado organizations to help dispel myths about the wolf in Colorado.

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  1. Paul Dutton

    Coloradoan’s wolves and our South African rhino species represent wilderness flag ship species loosing them rips out the heart of their natal (birth place) habitats. Let’s all sing together for their survival. Paul Dutton ex Game Ranger

  2. Marije terEllen

    Thank you, Amy, for these beautiful words that are speaking for wild.

  3. Amy Lewis

    Paul, it is so good to hear from you again! And thank you for making that important connection. There is an aspect of wilderness in all of heritages, the rhino in South Africa and the wolf in the American West. When these animals are present, we are all stronger, ecologically and spiritually. Thank you again for your comment! It is an honor to receive it.

    Marije, wild things have few better advocates than you. All I hope to bring to the conversation is that when we advocate for the wilds, we advocate for ourselves, for the land is our home, and our home is incomplete without the full complement of species. I am proud to join my voice with yours in support of a healthier, fuller Colorado!

    • Paul Dutton

      Well done Amy your Colorado appeal was a winner

  4. Paul Dutton

    I walked those empty buffalo shortgrass rangelands in Colorado with my dear friend Vance Martin on one of my earlier visits. Although bereft of thrumming Buffalo hooves it still had the feel of wilderness and wildlife it once supported. I support WILD Foundation’s thrust to get the wolf back into its natal habitat again


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