Demand that Colorado Parks and Wildlife actually supports wildlife
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As citizens of Colorado who love this state for its natural beauty, climate, wildlife, and much more, we urge you, Governor Hickenlooper, to investigate Colorado Parks and Wildlife for their recent reprehensible actions against wildlife. We encourage you to demand that they approach wildlife with a more humane outlook and come up with better alternatives than just killing them. Here are a few examples, just from the Front Range, of why we're upset:
CPW killed a mother bear and her 2 babies in Apex Park in Golden in September 2017. The mother bear was trying to protect her cubs from the dogs that were brought by the hikers into the wilderness. The hikers reported that the bear was 'aggressive', but no one was injured and the hikers and dogs walked away without incident, which suggests that the bear was not truly being aggressive. Even if the mother was being aggressive, there was absolutely no reason to kill those 2 cubs. CPW states they are investigating the incident, but Jennifer Churchill has stated that nothing has come of it. As historically seems to happen in this organization, where they protect each other, we are doubtful that there will be any positive outcome or true change from the "investigation" and the officer will still keep his job despite his horrendous actions.
CPW then killed a bear in September less than 2 weeks later in North Boulder because it was 'attacking a goat'. Rather than offer viable options, such as telling the owners of the goats to secure their animals in a proper shelter with electric fencing such that the bear couldn't get to the goats, they killed the bear. Jennifer Churchill stated that the bear would just want to go after more livestock after this, which has not been shown to be true. Bears are opportunists, so they will go after livestock if readily available, but if access to that livestock is blocked, they will move on. They will not then only go seek out livestock. The current directive by CPW that requires the killing of wildlife after a single depredatory event on livestock is clearly an economic one. It puts a dollar sign on the heads of animals.
CPW killed another bear in Colorado Springs in August while attempting to sedate it as it climbed higher and higher in a tree. CPW made no attempt to protect the bear from falling and the bear, therefore, fell to its death. This was a decision that shows clear incompetence by that CPW officer.
CPW consistently discourages or refuses to relocate prairie dog colonies. They did everything they could to encourage extermination of the recent colonies on the landfill in Longmont and the Great Western Flex colony. They have made the permitting process for relocating prairie dogs in the state close to impossible and very hard for advocates to get approved. The application to kill prairie dogs by donating them to the ferrets takes a mere few minutes to fill out, while a relocation permit takes up to 3 days. After submitting a permit for relocation, CPW can take up to a month to approve or deny them, and so much red tape has been created for these permits, that most are denied and the prairie dogs are killed. With the recent colonies, they gave the incorrect information to the people who needed to apply for permits for relocation simply because they did not want to deal with the work of the permitting process necessary to relocate. CPW also kills thousands of prairie dogs each year on our state parks, where visitors actually enjoy seeing this wildlife.
CPW is hoping to kill a large number of mountain lions and bears to increase mule deer populations, whose numbers are still in the hundreds of thousands, as part of a 'study'. Many studies have already shown that killing predators is not successful at increasing number of prey. There has been a large public outcry against this, but again, there has been no response from CPW. There is suspicion that CPW wants to increase mule deer populations simply so they can sell more hunting licenses.
CPW killed many animals that were being properly cared for at Squirrel Creek Animal Rescue in Lakewood in 2016. These rehabilitators were doing amazing work and saving a lot of lives, but CPW got upset that some paperwork wasn't filled out to their liking, so they went in, shut the place down, and killed most of the animals that were being successfully rehabilitated. There have been reports of CPW doing this to other rehabbers as well, rehabbers who have good hearts and are actually saving wildlife.
CPW rarely responds to any phone calls, email messages, or social media messages for any public concern. Frankly, they seem to be on a trigger-happy, 'nobody can touch us' type of tirade with their haphazard decisions that result in so many unnecessary deaths. As you will see in reading the comments below, citizens have seen the downhill change in this organization over the years. Jennifer Churchill gives the same reasoning for every bear that is killed--that they're getting too accustomed to humans and that they're potentially dangerous. Humans have decimated most of our bears' habitat, so yes, bears do have to live around and become accustomed to seeing people, like it or not. We, however, have to learn to peacefully coexist with bears, and accept that, yes, we will see them in towns and they can look scary, they might dump over some garbage cans, they might go after a pet if they're incredibly hungry, but it is up to the humans to protect their valuables as much as they can, to respect the bears' property as much as we expect them to respect ours, and if humans make a mistake, to not punish the bears.
The current officers and commissioners at CPW don't seem to have any true care or concern for our state's wildlife. They were founded by a group of hunters/ranchers who have a conflict of interest because they only value livestock and hunting. They, therefore, want to take the easy road out whenever an incident arises--that is to kill the animal. We would like to see new faces on the board of CPW, faces that represent the current mindset of Colorado--those who love nature and its wildlife. We want to see CPW managed by people who can show humanity and understanding toward these creatures who are just trying to eat and survive, people who can think outside of the box to come up with alternatives to killing. We would like to see a change in the directive that requires wildlife be automatically killed after a single depredatory event. We would like to see more mandates that small farms have electric fencing around their property, or other such protective measures, such that depredatory events are less likely. We would like to see less destruction of their habitat. We want to know that our state is at the forefront of handling wildlife with compassion. We want to become proud of CPW such that they no longer have the reputation of "Colorado Parks and Death". We value our wildlife and we want to see them thrive.
Thank you, Governor, for taking these lost lives seriously.
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