Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is a coalition of conservation groups, animal welfare organizations, wildlife professionals, hunters, ranchers and other Michigan citizens working to protect Michigan’s fragile wolf population. For about the last 50 years wolves have been fully protected in Michigan and have been on the Endangered Species List for close to 40 years. With the added protection over the last half-century, the near extinct population has been slowly recovering with numbers now close to 700. The species was delisted from the Endanged Species List in 2011 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In December of 2012, Governor Snyder signed legislation into law that would declare wolves a “game” species and authorizes the Natural Resources Commission to create a hunting season for the State of Michigan should they chose to do so. Currently, a management plan for wolves does exist and does not recommend hunting as a sound management tool. However, the recently passed legislation is the first step in making a hunt legal. All other states that have made wolves a game species now have a sanctioned hunt. This campaign is not the only effort to gain more protection for the Gray Wolf in the Great Lakes region either. As of February 12, 2013, a coalition of animal advocacy groups filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, challenging the 2011 decision to delist the species.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is holding events throughout the state of Michigan in support of the cause and is seeking to collect 225,000 signatures, by March 20th, from registered Michigan voters to place a referendum on the ballot. This referendum would give the choice to voters on the Michigan statewide ballot in 2014 to decide whether or not to enact the legislature’s wolf hunting law.
The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve supports the campaign to let voters decide whether wolves should be considered “game” and whether a hunt should be legal. There is at least one pack that calls the watershed home and two others that contain territory at some point near the river. “It is quite an experience seeing wolf tracks in the watershed. It helps place even more value on the wilderness we have, since a once near extinct species now uses this area for survival. YDWP supports protective measures that will ensure the wolf has a bright future, and right now science does not support the idea that a hunt would benefit the population,” says Emily Whittaker, Executive Director of YDWP.
To get involved or for more information about this campaign, please visit this website: http://www.keepwolvesprotected.com/about
For more local information on the issue and to find out when additional signing opportunities are happening, visit Upper Peninsula Animal Liberties Defense (UPALD) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Upper-Peninsula-Animal-Liberties-Defense/156123221202844
Local events: Volunteers will be at Babycakes Muffin Company in downtown Marquette every Monday through the end of March from 4-6pm, to answer questions and will have petitions available to sign. For more information go here: