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Colorado ranchers urge action from Gov. Polis, wildlife officials as wolf attacks continue on cattle

Grand County ranchers urges Gov. Jared Polis to lethally manage chronically depredating wolves
Grand County ranchers urges Gov. Jared Polis to lethally manage chronically depredating wolves 02:46

In Grand County ranchers are urging Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and wildlife officials to lethally manage chronically depredating wolves. This comes after four more calves were killed by wolves last week, totaling six calves killed and one hurt in just the last few weeks. 

The Middle Park Stockgrowers Association wrote a letter demanding change since their mission is to promote and protect the livestock industry in the county. On Thursday, the association's letter to Polis and wildlife officials ask for the removal of two wolves after deadly attacks in their county. 

It has been about four days since they sent out this letter and they have not received a response. Now the organization looks forward to delivering a second letter. 

Cattle  CBS

Tim Ritschard is president of the Middle Park Stockgrowers Association, he says it's just a matter of time before this happens again.

"Seriously, it's a matter of time before we have another depredation," said Ritschard. 

As a rancher in peak calving season, he says it is important to act now before it is too late. 

"It affects us dramatically because we're trying to produce a commodity that will eventually get to the American people to eat and that is our livelihood, that's how we make a living," said Ritschard. 

This is after more cattle were killed last week in Grand County, which is why they are urgently looking for a response to remove these wolves.

"Right now, we have two problem wolves up here and if they start teaching them pups, we're going to have significantly more problems," said Ritschard.

The recent killings worry Tim and threaten his livelihood.

"If we don't have those numbers coming back to sell to the market, we go out of business," said Ritschard. 

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the wolves or wolf at the time of these attacks were part of the wolf re-introduction program in Colorado last December

In the association's letter to Polis and officials they call these acts a result of chronic depredation. Other states have defined this as at least three confirmed livestock depredations within 12 months.

However, in Colorado, this has not been defined yet. It is small important things that add up to some of his frustration. 

"Why haven't we defined chronic depredation? It's still not defined, and, in our letter, we say this is chronic depredation," said Ritschard. 

As time is ticking, the association wants action now as more wolves are set to be released later this year. 

"If you start getting rid of the problem wolves now, you are going to significantly decrease that chance of having more later," said Ritschard, "but, you still can have a surviving wolf pack that'll make it if we get rid of the issues," said Ritschard.

CBS News Colorado reached out to CPW and has not received a response. CBS News Colorado also reached out to WildEarth an organization that looks to advocate, restore, and protect wildlife, and is waiting for a response. 

CPW and the Department of Agriculture are working to finalize a program to help ranchers. That includes hiring range riders to protect livestock in Grand County. Some ranchers have already raised concerns and opposition to this plan, saying it is not a permanent solution.

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