Media coverage of wolves needs more balance

The Aspen Times summed up an informative, detailed article on wolves and ranchers from the Colorado Sun into four minimal paragraphs (compared to a full-page on wild horse roundups and two pages on Cuchara). In fact, the Times, in two recent articles, has failed to mention the two working dogs killed in their barnyard (one confirmed) and another injured by wolves near Walden, Colorado.

Who cares? This matters because Pitkin County voted for wolf reintroduction, and The Aspen Times doesn’t care enough to present the details. The Technical Working Group working on the details of wolf reintroduction to Colorado is recommending wolves be placed no closer than 75 miles from Colorado’s borders and west of the Continental Divide. This puts Pitkin County, Gunnison County, Eagle County and Summit County as the center for reintroduction.

The media is key to making reintroduction a success. There is a lot of emphasis on educating ranchers on avoidance strategies, but what is lacking is an effort to educate the public on why they should accept a full tool box of practices in dealing with wolves. The media was powerful in getting out the campaign slogan to “restore the balance.” Now it’s time to actually begin to understand the challenges of living with wolves.

Marj Perry