FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information Contact:
Contact: Rob Edward, (970) 236-1942, Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Skiba, San Juan Citizens Alliance, (720) 301-7895, email@example.com
Colorado General Assembly Approves ‘Born To Be Wild’ License Plate
DENVER, Colorado – As the Colorado General Assembly completes the last day of the 2023 session, two bills head to the desk of Governor Jared Polis which will make Colorado a model of gray wolf conservation. HB23-1265 creates a handsome new license plate that will support programs to prevent conflicts with gray wolves through non-lethal means. An image of the new plate is available at www.wolfplate.org. The other bill, SB23-255, creates a permanent appropriation to cover livestock losses to wolves. Both bills are the result of unprecedented collaboration between wildlife conservationists, hunters and livestock producers.
“The ‘Born To Be Wild’ license plate will move hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to Colorado Parks & Wildlife to fund non-lethal conflict reduction programs and tools. The plate will also support research to make those tools more effective,” said Rob Edward of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project. “We are very proud of the plate that our volunteers created, and grateful for the support of livestock producers, hunters, the bill sponsors and the Polis Administration in securing legislative approval.”
Featuring a gray wolf against the classic Colorado mountain background, under a sky lit by the Milky Way, the plate was a graduate project for Gillian Marie, a scientific illustrator living on the Front Range. Marie collaborated with Edward, his wife Anne, and other volunteers at the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project to develop the design.
“It’s been an incredible honor to have my work as a science illustrator contribute to the restoration of a native species that was nearly hunted to extinction,” said Marie. “Working alongside scientists, wildlife experts, naturalists and educators who are passionate about native species and ecosystem balance fueled my desire to continue work in this field.”
“The plate symbolizes Colorado’s forward-thinking commitment to restoring wolves to her vast wildlands,” said Edward. “The people of Colorado said they wanted wolves back, and that they wanted to make this work for everyone. The ‘Born To Be Wild’ plate is the physical embodiment of that commitment. It will help ranchers adapt to wolves without putting a dent in their bottom line, while also protecting Colorado’s repatriated wolves.”
Gary Skiba, Wildlife Program Manager at San Juan Citizens Alliance in Durango, said, “The Born to be Wild license plate is another demonstration of Colorado’s progressive approach to wolf restoration. Our thoughtful approach ensures that we can achieve true coexistence and avoid the conflicts seen in other states.”
Skiba noted that supporters of wolf restoration recognize the need to minimize the impact of wolves on livestock owners. “That’s why Proposition 114 spoke directly to the need for fair compensation for losses. Now, those who voted for wolves have a mechanism to contribute to a world-class conflict prevention program.”
Edward pointed out the plate will help to decrease demand from the compensation fund. “Preventing conflict with wolves averts the need for loss compensation. Notably, keeping the focus on non-lethal conflict management also decreases the odds of future loss to wolves.” Emerging scientific research suggests that wolf packs which experience human-caused loss are more prone to turn to killing livestock than packs that do not have members killed by humans.
The ‘Born To Be Wild’ plate should be available in early 2024. In the meantime, people interested in purchasing the plate can sign up at wolfplate.org to receive updates about the plate’s availability and details once the Department of Motor Vehicles makes the plate available.
High-resolution images of the plate are available upon request for print. The image available at wolfplate.org should suffice for web display.
Rob Edward, Strategic Advisor
Rocky Mountain Wolf Project
(970) 236-1942 (Voicemail)