Michigan elking out new wildlife plates

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

When the loon leaves, an elk enters.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials said Michigan vehicle license plates that feature the common loon's likeness will be replaced by ones with an elk effigy.

The change is to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the reintroduction of elk in Michigan. Celebrations are planned throughout the year.

A new wildlife license plate featuring the elk will be available Dec. 1

“We are excited for the changing of the guard,” Russ Mason, the natural resources department's Wildlife Division Chief, said in a statement. “The loon license plate has had a long run, and helped to raise over $2.6 million for wildlife habitat since 2006."

But that doesn't mean the loon plate will disappear completely. Motorists who have the loon license plate already can keep it. But anyone who wants to get one before the state stops selling them has to get to a Secretary of State office by Nov. 30. New license plates cost $35.

Michigan's current wildlife license plate with the common loon will be replaced with one that features an elk.

Standard license plates in Michigan are $5. With special plates like the elk or loon, $25 of the charge is given to special causes, such as protecting wildlife.

The new elk licenses plates will be available Dec. 1, according to Mason.

"All funds from the sale of the elk license plate will continue to help wildlife management,” he said. “This funding is extremely important because it helps all wildlife.”