At the end of March 2013, The Humane Society of the United States with the support of Humane Societies across Michigan, including Kalamazoo's, submitted more than 250,000 signatures from register Michigan voters calling for a referendum to protect wolves from being hunted in Michigan.
Wolves were just recently removed from the endangered species list after decades of protection as their numbers have grown in Michigan.
But earlier this month, ignoring the wishes of their constituents, Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill rushed thru the State Legislature to give the state's Natural Resources Commission the authority to remove just about any species in Michigan from the protected list and launch a trophy hunting or trapping season on them. Within a matter of hours after Gov. Snyder signed the bill, a wolf hunting season was approved for Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
This sets a potentially dangerous precedent, putting a whole lot of power into the hands of just a few people to make decisions about the protection of wildlife in our state. And, if voters do approve the referendum on wolf hunting in Michigan, a measure likely to be on the November 2014 ballot, will the NRC honor that vote. Or, will another ballot initiative prove necessary to enforce the will of the people.
There is no reason to kill wolves unless they prove a clear and present danger. It's strictly for the trophy. And, it seems greater consideration should be given to preserving the wildlife, so much a part of the beauty of the state.
Full disclosure: Opinions here are my own. I am also a member of the Board of Directors of the Kalamazoo Humane Society, which supported the ballot initiative to protect the wolves in Michigan.