Winter Wildlife Protection

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Launches Initiative to Protect Wintering Wildlife

GRAND COUNTY, COLORADO – In response to the increasing vulnerability of wildlife during the winter months, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), in collaboration with the Winter Wildlands Alliance and the Colorado Mountain Club, has unveiled a new conservation campaign aimed at safeguarding Colorado’s wildlife. The Wintering Wildlife Conservation Initiative (WWCI), supported by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), seeks to educate winter recreationists on minimizing their impact on wildlife through a blend of resources and outreach efforts.

Winter poses a critical period for wildlife such as elk, mule deer, moose, and bighorn sheep, with human disturbances potentially leading to decreased survival rates and reproductive success. Recognizing the challenges posed by increased recreational activities, the WWCI emphasizes the importance of respecting winter habitat closures and maintaining a safe distance from wildlife.

The initiative provides a suite of educational materials and a social posting toolkit on its website, winteringwildlife.org, to assist individuals and organizations in spreading the message. These resources aim to foster greater awareness among Colorado’s outdoor enthusiasts about the significance of reducing disturbances to wildlife during the sensitive winter months.

Hilary Eisen, policy director with Winter Wildlands Alliance, highlighted the necessity of the campaign, noting that wildlife often perceives humans as a threat. Jeromy Huntington, Area Wildlife Manager with CPW, added, “Winter is an extremely difficult time for wildlife. With limited access to food, it’s crucial for them to conserve energy for survival and reproduction.” He further emphasized the impact of recreational activities on wildlife energy reserves, underscoring the importance of the WWCI in promoting awareness and education.

The WWCI campaign encourages responsible recreation by urging winter enthusiasts to be cognizant of wildlife’s winter ranges and to adjust their activities accordingly. By doing so, the initiative aims to mitigate the adverse effects of winter recreation on wildlife populations, thereby contributing to the conservation of Colorado’s natural heritage.

For those interested in learning more about how to support wintering wildlife or to access the initiative’s resources, please visit winteringwildlife.org.

Tips for Protecting Wintering Wildlife

Here are some ways you can help CPW by respecting wildlife during the winter when they are most vulnerable to human disturbances:

  • Give Wildlife Space: Maintain a safe distance from animals to avoid causing stress or forcing them to expend energy unnecessarily.
  • Respect Habitat Closures: Adhere to closures and restrictions in winter habitats to protect vulnerable wildlife.
  • Plan Ahead: Be prepared to change your route if you encounter wildlife or signs of recent activity.
  • Educate Yourself: Utilize resources like the WWCI’s website to learn about the impacts of winter recreation on wildlife.
  • Spread the Word: Share information with fellow recreationists to foster a community of conservation-minded individuals.

 

Through collective awareness and action, Colorado’s winter recreationists can play a crucial role in ensuring the survival and well-being of wildlife during the harsh winter months.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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