Organization trying to gather signatures to protect Michigan’s wolf population

A group of conservationists, scientists, and concerned citizens are gathering signatures for a referendum to keep wolves in Michigan protected from hunting.

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is attempting to overturn language in Public Act 21, which gives the Natural Resources Commission the authority to designate animals as game species.

That measure went into effect in May 2013.

A little over a year ago, after the federal protection of wolves expired, KMWP submitted a referendum with over 250,000 signatures from concerned Michigan voters that would have removed wolves as fair game for trophy hunters.

“Well, as soon as we turned in the signatures, the legislature quickly passed a second piece of legislation that was essentially a work around our referendum, and takes the issue out of the voters’ hands and lets the natural resources commission designate game species on its own, effectively removing the chance for voters to weigh in on this very important issue,” KMWP Director Jill Fritz said. “Top wolf scientists from Michigan Tech and elsewhere repeatedly talked with legislators about how there’s no scientific basis for a sport hunt on wolves in Michigan, yet they were ignored.”

The KMWP hopes the referendum will restore the authority to determine which animals qualify as game to the voters.

“This would allow wolf scientists and the citizens of Michigan to weigh in meaningfully on this,” Fritz said.  “Everywhere we go, citizens are so eager to sign our petition, and to be able to have their voice heard to protect the wolves of Michigan.”

KMWP needs to collect at least 225,000 signatures to put the referendum on the November ballot.

For more information on the referendum, visit KMWP’s website.