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After a long absence, Fish and Wildlife Service to bring wolves back to Colorado

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will reintroduce wolves to Colorado.

Conservationists support the release, but they say the government needs to do more to promote genetic diversity in Arizona’s population.

Although wolves from neighboring states occasionally venture into Colorado, it has not had a self-sustaining population for decades.

In 2020, voters approved a proposition to bring them back, and Fish and Wildlife recently completed environmental studies and announced it will reintroduce the animals.

Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity says that although he supports the action, more needs to be done to allow different wolf populations, such as the Mexican wolf in Arizona, to interact with other groups.

"Scientists are now pointing the way towards reestablishing the connectivity, and helping to preserve the remaining genetic diversity," he said.

He says the lack of genetic diversity in Mexican wolf populations puts it at risk.

"Reintroduction of gray wolves into Colorado is a tremendous conservation victory and opportunity," he said.

Ron Dungan has lived in Arizona for more than 35 years. He has worked as a reporter, construction worker, copy editor, designer and freelance writer. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the undergraduate Writers’ Workshop, and has a master’s in history from Arizona State University.Dungan was an outdoors reporter and member of the storyteller team at the Arizona Republic, where he won several awards, and was a contributor on a border project that won the 2018 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting.When not working, Dungan enjoys books, gardening, hanging out with his German shorthaired pointer, backpacking and fly-fishing. He's a fan of the Arizona Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes.