Against hunting wolves in UP
I urge your readers to contact the Michigan Natural Resources Council and our state legislators and ask them to oppose the opening of any wolf hunting or trapping seasons in Michigan. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration recently removed Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in Michigan and surrounding areas in the western Great Lakes even though wolf numbers and habitat have not recovered to historical standards.
Wolves are vital components of healthy ecosystems. Unlike human hunters, wolves tend to cull the weaker members of their prey species, thus maintaining the long-term genetic health of those animals. Since wolves also tend to prey primarily on herbivores, they limit the overbrowsing of native plants. For instance, moose numbers on Isle Royale increased significantly after wolf populations there fell sharply, resulting in the overbrowsing of the island’s flora.
Despite numerous claims to the contrary, wolves do not pose a significant risk to Michigan’s livestock. Across the country, farmers and ranchers lose nine times more cattle and sheep to problems such as bad weather, disease and theft than to wolves and all carnivores combined. In fact, the Michigan Humane Society found that less than 1% of farms here in the U.P. had any livestock animals killed by wolves. Since the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reports the U.P. wolf population has stabilized between 600 and 700, there is no need to hunt/trap these animals.
Recent polls and two 2014 ballot referendums indicate our state residents do not want wolves to be hunted or trapped. Specifically, a statewide survey conducted by researchers at Michigan State and Michigan Technological Universities and published in 2012 found that a large majority of Michigan residents–including a majority of us U.P. residents–agree that wolves have value. These polls found only a small minority, 14%, said they would hunt or trap wolves if such activities were legal.
Ample wolf populations are vital to the health of our ecosystems in Upper Michigan, and the majority of Michigan residents want these predators to be protected. Please contact the Michigan NRC at NRC@michigan.gov and your state legislators and urge them not to approve any proposals for a wolf hunting or trapping season in Michigan.