If you’re coughing and sneezing, don’t hang out with wolves and don’t eat one, if you can help it.

That’s to be the medical advice against a ballot measure to bring the gray wolf back to Colorado after decades of absence.

Greg Walcher, a wildlife expert who used to head the state Department of Natural Resources, wrote in an op-ed in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel this week noting that wolves are potential spreaders of such illnesses as coronavirus, a potentially deadly bug that is presumed to have spread to Colorado.

“You read that right,” Walcher wrote. “Wolves are among the Earth’s primary carriers of coronavirus, the pandemic that is now sweeping the globe, having infected nearly 100,000 people and killed over 3,000 that we know about. In late January it was reported that the Chinese market at the center of the deadly outbreak sold exotic animals, including wolves, for food.

“The Huanan Seafood Market in the city of Wuhan is reported to have sold the animals, despite widespread knowledge that wolves can carry coronavirus.”

Walcher has previously voiced his opposition to wolf reintroduction.

The Stop the Wolf Coalition sent out an email to its supporters touting Walcher’s column Friday.

Colorado voters will decide in November whether to bring the wolves back, though a few wolves were spotted in Colorado late last year.

If Initiative 107 passes, the state would pay for livestock losses and other damage caused by the animals, coronavirus, notwithstanding.

If the measure passes, reintroduction would not begin until after Dec. 31, 2023.

Sen. Kerry Donovan, a Democrat from Vail, has introduced compromise legislation to postpone reintroduction until 2025 to see if wolves return to Colorado on their own to the state.

Editor’s note: For more stories like this, visit coloradopolitics.com

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