Letters to the Editor
Setting record straight
To the Journal editor:
A recent interview mischaracterized the ballot campaign that stopped the recreational wolf hunt in Michigan (“DNR biologist talks predators,” July 23), claiming that Keep Michigan Wolves Protected (KMWP), the ballot committee that successfully overturned two wolf hunting laws in the November 2014 general election, “opposes killing wolves for any reason.”
This is simply not true. Throughout the campaign, KMWP stated that Public Acts 290 and 318 of 2008, effective upon delisting, allowed the lethal control of depredating wolves. KMWP stated clearly they had no objection to those laws. Research suggests that the removal of specific, problem wolves–when non-lethal measures were unsuccessful–was more effective than the random killing of wolves through recreational hunting and trapping.
KMWP objected to the unnecessary law designating the wolf as a game species, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ plan for a recreational wolf hunting/trapping season claiming that a hunt would reduce conflicts. A report from some of the world’s top wildlife scientists issued to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in 2013 concluded that the DNR’s plan would be “remarkably inefficient and ineffective,” was “lacking in scientific merit,” and that a recreational hunt could disrupt stable wolf packs and increase conflicts with livestock.
The comparison of Michigan citizens exercising their Constitutional right to vote on a ballot referendum to allowing them to perform surgery rather than take a doctor’s word for it was peculiar. The DNR and Michigan legislators as “doctors” abdicated any position of expertise they might have claimed.
Citizens were misled with scare stories about wolves, failed to correct anti-wolf hysteria and misinformation, withheld information from the public about the true status of wolf conflicts in the Upper Peninsula and proposed an irresponsible and unscientific hunt for the sole purpose of appeasing those eager to kill a wolf out of hatred, misplaced fear, or for a trophy. The voters of Michigan, including scientists, Native American Tribes, veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitators, conservationists, and animal welfare advocates, said “no.”
Statistics show that wolf/livestock conflicts are at historic lows, even while the wolf population stabilizes and resumes its vital role in maintaining a balanced and healthy ecosystem. If wolf management is handed back to the DNR, it should avoid bowing to the demands of those who ignore society’s recognition of the importance of wolves and continue to demand to kill them for no good reason. The people of Michigan have already made it clear that this is not acceptable.
Upper Peninsula representative for
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected