For Immediate Release-November 5, 2014
Minneapolis – The International Wolf Center notes that Michigan voters defeated two largely symbolic referendums on the ballot yesterday to show opposition to wolf hunting in the state. As an educational-focused nonprofit organization, the Center frequently teaches about the complex role human attitudes and politics play in the survival of wolf populations.
L. David Mech, biologist and International Wolf Center founder and vice chair said, “The fact that wolf populations have recovered to the point where voters can even consider the hunting issue is remarkable. Wolf populations have recovered well. Now humans need to figure out how to live with them with a minimum of conflict and controversy.”
Since their delisting from the Endangered Species Act in 2012, gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have held or slightly increased their winter count, according to state and federal authorities.
Rolf Peterson, noted Isle Royale wolf biologist and International Wolf Center board member said, “The wolf population has been estimated at 600-700 in Michigan for the last couple of years. Limited to the largely forested Upper Peninsula, wolves now make the Michigan woods quite a bit more wild.”
The Center educates thousands each year about how to best coexist with wolves, how scientists and wildlife managers advance our understanding of wolf biology and behavior, as well as the wolf’s relationships to ecosystems locally and worldwide.
The political and legal process leading up to yesterday’s vote is complex. The timeline for the laws and proposals voted upon follows:
Public Act 520 passed the Michigan legislature in December 2012, designating the wolf as a game animal and allowing wolf hunting seasons to be established.
Proposal 14-1 was approved in March 2013 as a ballot referendum for yesterday’s election, in an effort to overturn P.A. 520.
Public Act 21 passed the Michigan legislature in May 2013 superseding P.A. 520, thus making Proposal 14-1 practically moot.
Proposal 14-2 was approved as a ballot referendum for yesterday’s election in May 2014, in an effort to overturn P.A. 21.
The legislature passed an indirect statute connected with state funding appropriations in August 2014. Under the Michigan constitution, an appropriations law is not subject to ballot referendum. This made Proposal 14-2 a moot effort, as well.
While the two Michigan proposals 1 and 2 will have no practical effect, yesterday’s votes are considered an important victory for anti-wolf hunting supporters who could use them to challenge the August 2014 statute in court. Pro-wolf hunting supporters want the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to decide matters regarding wolf hunting.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER – Learn about the International Wolf Center at The Center, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the nation’s premier source for wolf education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The Center educates through its Web site,, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, on-site adventure and outreach programs and International Wolf magazine. The educational facility is located at 1396 Highway 169, Ely, Minnesota, 55731. (Phone: 218-365-4695), and the Center’s Administrative and Outreach offices are at 3410 Winnetka Ave North, Minneapolis, MN 55427.