Political Chicanery Puts Fragile Wolf Population at Risk

Latest wolf census shows decrease in Michigan
 
LANSING, Mich. – In a blatant display of political bullying that will put Michigan’s declining wolf population further at risk, members of a state Senate committee voted 5-2 Thursday to allow unelected members of the Natural Resources Commission – and not the voters of Michigan – to determine if wolves should be hunted and trapped for trophies after decades of protection.
 
Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes, introduced Senate Bill 288, legislation that will circumvent Michigan’s voter referendum law, on the same day wildlife managers reported that Michigan’s still-recovering wolf population has dropped. The measure also includes a non-related appropriation, a legislative scheme that prevents the voters from rejecting the measure in a referendum.
 
“Michigan voters want to have their say on whether the state’s declining wolf population remains protected or is subjected to painful and unsporting practices such as baiting and steel-jawed leghold traps,” said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, a coalition that recently submitted 253,705 voter signatures to repeal another Casperson-sponsored attempt to trophy hunt wolves. “This is an extreme power grab by politicians and a deliberate attempt to subvert democracy and silence the voices of Michigan voters.”
 
Senate Bill 288 is being fast-tracked to prevent the state Board of Canvassers from certifying signatures from registered voters in every corner of the state, which would suspend the wolf hunting law until voters could decide in the matter on the November 2014 ballot. This new bill would empower a politically appointed panel of seven persons to designate animals as game species without public input or voter oversight.
 
Facts
- The Department of Natural Resources announced on Thursday that according to its 2012 survey, Michigan’s wolf population decreased from 687 to 658.
- More than 2,000 Michigan residents volunteered for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, a coalition of animal welfare groups, conservationists, veterinarians, Native American tribes and faith leaders, to gather signatures during sub-freezing temperatures in just 67 days. 
- After being hunted to the brink of extinction and more than four decades of protection, there are fewer than 700 wolves in Michigan.
- Despite the wolf population's fragile status, the Michigan legislature rushed a bill through in December 2012, opening the door to the same practices that virtually eradicated the wolf population in the first place.


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Press Releases: Dec 14, 2016

In the 2014 general election, Michigan voters soundly rejected two referendums on the trophy hunting and trapping of the state’s small population of wolves. But now, the Michigan legislature has rushed through another bill, SB 1187, to once again designate wolves as a game species to be hunted and trapped—in spite of that public rejection of an almost identical measure at the ballot box just two years ago...


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Keep Wolves Protected is endorsed by a number of organizations and citizens including:

  • Kalamazoo Humane Society
  • Pamela Graves, DVM
  • Detroit Audubon Society
  • Michigan Animal Shelter Rescue Network
  • Aaron Payment, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
  • Voiceless-MI
  • Humane Society of Huron Valley
  • Detroit Zoological Society

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