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.