Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is a coalition of conservation groups, animal welfare organizations, Native American tribes, wildlife scientists, faith groups, veterinarians, hunters, farmers, and concerned Michigan citizens working to protect Michigan's fragile wolf population.
After 50 years on the protected list, wolves in Michigan are only now starting to recover. The current population estimate is only 636 wolves.
It's not right to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction only to turn around and allow them to be hunted and trapped for trophies. People don't eat wolves. It’s already legal in Michigan to kill wolves in order to protect livestock or dogs. There is no scientific reason to hunt and trap wolves for sport. Wolf hunting may involve especially cruel and unfair practices, such as painful steel-jawed leghold traps and hunting over bait.
In December 2012, Michigan politicians rushed a 'lame duck' bill through the House and Senate that designates wolves as a "game" species and authorizes the Natural Resources Commission to establish an open season on wolves. Governor Snyder signed it into law and it became known as Public Act (PA) 520 of 2012. In early 2013, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected gathered enough signatures and was certified to place a referendum of PA 520 on the 2014 ballot, in an effort to overturn that law to allow for the cruel and pointless hunting and trapping of wolves.
But in an egregious power grab and heavily influenced by powerful special interest groups, politicians passed Public Act 21 of 2013 just weeks after our qualifying signatures were submitted. PA 21 allows the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, a non-scientific, politically-appointed panel, to add animals to the list of game species (animals that can be hunted). This means that when the NRC makes such a designation, Michigan voters are unable to reverse that decision because it is an act of a regulatory body and not the legislature. This was a contemptuous move to circumvent our referendum vote on PA 520, and to subvert Michiganders’ longstanding constitutional right to voice their opinion on what happens to the state’s wildlife.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected will not allow the hard work of our volunteers to be wasted and will not sit idly by while the legislature stands in the way of democracy. So on March 13, 2014, we submitted almost 230,000 signatures to place a referendum of PA 21 on the ballot, too. This referendum will preserve the impact of our first referendum and will ensure that Michigan voters have the right to cast their vote to protect our wolves and other wildlife in the future.
It is the goal of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected to preserve the longstanding Michigan prohibition on the trophy hunting of this iconic species.