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Michigan seeks public help in Lower Peninsula wolf survey

From Michigan Department of Natural Resources

-- The Michigan DNR will conduct a four-week wolf track survey Feb. 11 through March 8 to detect the presence of gray wolves in the northern Lower Peninsula.

“Given the low probability of observing an actual wolf or its tracks in the Lower Peninsula,” said wildlife biologist Jennifer Kleitch, “it’s helpful to have as many eyes looking as possible and that’s why public reports are so important.”

Wolves began naturally returning to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula via Canada and Wisconsin in the early 1990s. Since that time populations have increased and continue to expand their range. Evidence of range expansion into the Lower Peninsula came when a gray wolf was accidentally killed in Presque Isle County in 2004.

Wolf sightings or tracks believed to have been from a wolf, between Feb. 11 and March 8 can be reported to the Gaylord Operations Service Center at (989)732-3541, ext. 5901. Reports of observations can also be submitted online at www.dnr.state.mi.us/wildlife/pubs/wolf_obsreport.asp.

Survey teams will respond to areas where there have been one or more observations. Priority will be placed on recent reports and those submitted during the survey period.

“It’s important that observations are reported promptly so we can work with fresh evidence. If the public finds what they believe are wolf tracks, they should preserve the track, disturbing it as little as possible, or take a photo of the tracks with a ruler,” said Kleitch. “If someone has a photo of a wolf in the Lower Peninsula, we’d certainly be interested in that as well.”

The DNR is partnering in this survey effort with USDA Wildlife Services, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

Information on wolves in Michigan and links to other wolf-related Web pages can be found at www.michigan.gov/wolves.

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