Back east where I grew up, it was all private land. When my family moved to Colorado in 1972 we were thrilled to see all the National Forest and open space lands with wildlife of all kinds roaming free and unhindered. Today in Park County I am still thrilled to see the herds of elk and pronghorn, even though now they are often in the ranchers’ fields and crossing the highways in waves to collide with the auto traffic.
We all love our wildlife here; for hunting, for beauty, for the sheer joy of knowing there are wild living things with us. Yet, according to the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the world is now experiencing the sixth mass extinction.
From the Colorado State Parks database there are 74 species of mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mollusks that are threatened, endangered, or of special concern in our state alone.
Yes, it’s the Anthropocene, the current geologic age where human activity is the dominant influence on climate and environment.
We can help make our influence right. For a good start and through Governor Polis’ Executive Order D 2019 011 Conserving Colorado’s Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors, we can voice our support of Colorado’s taking quick and effective steps to establish wildlife corridors that allow biodiversity to thrive, foster resilient ecosystems, and ensure a future for many endangered species.
The corridors, some of which are proposed passages over and under major highways, will help to stop wildlife traffic accidents too.
The executive order lays the groundwork for solid legislative action. Let us ask our elected officials both local and state to acknowledge the importance of Colorado’s wildlife and vote yes on wildlife conservation and migration corridors.
Adrienne De Forrest