Northern Lower Peninsula Wolf Survey

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials today announced the DNR will conduct a two-week survey in the northern Lower Peninsula, Feb. 21-March 4, to detect the presence of gray wolves in this part of the state.

"The goal of the survey is to verify the presence of wolves both in the area where we have confirmed tracks and in other parts of the region," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Brian Mastenbrook.

Wolves began naturally returning to the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula via Canada and Wisconsin in the early 1990s. Today, the U.P. is home to at least 360 wolves. Following the accidental killing of a wolf in Presque Isle County last fall, the DNR has confirmed at least three other gray wolves have moved from the U.P. into the northern Lower Peninsula.

The 70-pound female wolf mistakenly killed by a coyote trapper last October came from a pack in the eastern U.P. The wolf was wearing a DNR tracking collar. Prior to that incident, the last recorded wolf in the Lower Peninsula was in 1910.

Mastenbrook said the survey will be conducted north of M-32 in nine priority areas, each between 200 and 400 square miles in size. Similar to techniques used by DNR biologists in the U.P., survey teams will drive along roads and trails looking for wolf tracks. Given the extremely low numbers of wolves in this part of the state and the low probability that tracks will be found, public reports will be very important in helping the DNR identify potential wolf locations.

During the survey period, the DNR is asking all residents who live north of M-32 to report any sightings of wolves or tracks they believe were made by wolves to the DNR Gaylord office at (989) 732-3541, ext. 5901.

"If the public finds anything related to wolves, we are encouraging them to preserve the physical evidence or take photographs, and then contact us as soon as possible," Mastenbrook said.

The DNR is partnering in this survey effort with the USDA Fish and Wildlife Service and the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.