A presentation by an advocate of gray wolf reintroduction in Colorado spurred howls of protest among numerous ranchers and some sportsmen Thursday night at a packed house in Carbondale.

Biologist Mike Phillips made the case in his presentation that western Colorado provides the perfect habitat for gray wolves because of vast stretches of public land, abundant prey and substantial support among residents.

Phillips led the acclaimed wolf recovery program in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. He said Colorado is the critical “arc stone” territory for restoring wolf habitat from the Arctic down to Mexico.

“It’s a discussion that’s at least due, if not overdue,” he said of bringing the animals back to the state. “The key to Yellowstone, of course, was a decision by the country to move forward.”

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