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Art exhibit aims to prompt conversation about how wolves should be managed

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Sarah Killingsworth
The Spirit of the Hunt exhibit.
A piece titled "Raven's Leap" by Sarah Killingsworth is among the art in an exhibit called "The Spirit of the Hunt." It is being shown through February 11th at Michigan State University's off-campus gallery, SCENE Metrospace.

The organizer of a traveling art exhibit is trying to raise awareness of Michigan’s attempts at establishing a wolf hunt. The mixed art exhibit is at Michigan State University’s off campus gallery, SCENE Metrospace.

Cat Plank says she’s hopeful being near the state capital will get the attention of the public and policy makers.

“I just wanted to have this exhibit travel around Michigan to raise awareness and conversation of how wolves should be managed and how we should balance everyone’s interests.”

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Ned Gannon
"The Spirt of the Hunt" exhibit
This 2010 piece by Ned Gannon is called "Dissolving." It's part of the mixed media exhibit being held at SCENE Metrospace in East Lansing.

Drawings, photos, paintings and other media are part of the exhibit called “The Spirit of the Hunt.” Included is a sculpture by Plank of a wolf that is made of driftwood she found on three of the Great Lakes' shores.

Plank says she became concerned when a wolf hunt took place right after the Trump administration ended the gray wolf’s endangered species protection.

“There is this massive hunt in Wisconsin. And I saw how they brutally went over their quota and (I) became absolutely determined to make sure that Michigan doesn’t do the same thing to their wolf population.”

The Wisconsin hunt quota last February was 119 wolves. Hunters and trappers took 218 in less than 72 hours. That was about 20 percent of the wolf population in that state.

Attempts at establishing a wolf hunting season in Michigan in the past have been blocked by voter ballot initiative or by the courts.

The Department of Natural Resources has been criticized for misinformation regarding wolf behavior around humans. Emails obtained by Bridge Michigan revealed some officials and lawmakers opposed to wolf protection exaggerated or made up stories about threats to livestock and humans from wolves.

“I am very concerned by the amount of misinformation, spreading fear and conflict between humans and wolves, especially in the U.P. because they use it as a reason to hunt and kill innocent wolves,” Plank said.

The state’s wolf management plan is being updated and public comments are being accepted (here) until the end of this month.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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