People fighting a proposed wolf hunt in Michigan are celebrating a milestone today.
They delivered a quarter million petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office this morning. The petition calls for a statewide vote on the law authorizing the wolf hunt.
Jill Fritz is the director of the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign. She’s optimistic that state officials will validate enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot.
“It will begin for us a long education campaign about wolves and the benefit of wolves to our state….leading up to the November 2014 election,” says Fritz.
The wolf hunt is supported by farming and hunting groups. Farmers complain the wolves present a growing threat to livestock.
The Michigan United Conservation Clubs issued a statement on the petitions:
"MUCC will continue with its public education campaign to combat the many mistruths being spread by the coalition and the HSUS (The Humane Society of the United States) as it attempts to come into Michigan and force its beliefs on our residents," said Erin McDonough, Executive Director of MUCC.
Hunt opponents says the gray wolf population is still dangerously small.
State wildlife experts believe there are about 700 gray wolves in Michigan.
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission may soon approve a wolf hunt for this Fall.
But that would be put on hold if there are enough valid petition signatures to put the issue on the ballot.