Below is a letter from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in response to the Michigan Senate which voted to allow the Natural Resources Commission to designate wolves as a game species if they are removed from the federal endangered species list. To become law, the measure would have to be passed by the Michigan House and signed by the governor.
December 9, 2016
Senator Tom Casperson
Chair, Natural Resources Committee
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) appreciates your efforts in introducing and advancing SB 1187 to allow wolves to be designated as a game species should they be removed from federal protection in Michigan.
As recent surveys by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources indicate, the gray wolf in Michigan is recovered and populations are holding firm at more than 600 animals. It’s important to keep in mind federal delisting criterion for wolves is 100 for Michigan and Wisconsin—combined. Meanwhile, deer populations continue to decline. RMEF believes no further protections under the Endangered Species Act are necessary for wolves in the Great Lakes states.
Your legislation is important because it allows the Michigan Natural Resource Commission to practice scientific wildlife management—including initiation of a limited wolf hunt. This bill is absolutely necessary for wildlife managers to achieve balance in Michigan’s predator-prey populations.
RMEF remains heavily involved in the appeal of a 2014 ruling that placed the Great Lakes wolf population back under federal protection. We remain hopeful the court will return wolves to state management where they belong.
We will also continue to work the halls of Congress in 2017 urging passage of a legislative work-around that would remove wolves in the Great Lakes from federal protection.
Thank you again for your leadership on this issue. RMEF stands ready to help move SB 1187 through the House of Representatives.
President & CEO