Northern Lower Peninsula Wolf Survey Slated

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Department of Natural Resources officials today announced the department will conduct a survey in the northern Lower Peninsula Feb. 13 through March 10 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 UP is home to at least 400 wolves. Following the accidental killing of a wolf in Presque Isle County in 2004, the DNR confirmed at least two other gray wolves in the northern Lower Peninsula in 2005.

Mastenbrook said the survey will have two components. First, nine priority areas north of M-32, each between 200 and 400 square miles in size, will be searched. Survey teams will drive along roads and trails looking for wolf tracks using the same techniques as those used in the UP. In addition, survey teams will be searching other areas where there have been one or more public observations. Given the extremely low numbers of wolves in this part of the state and the low probability that tracks will be found, public reports are very important in helping the DNR identify potential wolf locations.

During February and March, the DNR is asking the public 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 USDA Wildlife Services and the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.