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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

CONTACTS:       Raymond Rustem  517-373-1263
                James Hammill  906-875-6622

LANSING--Results of the 1998-99 winter wolf survey, 
conducted by the Department of Natural Resources, confirmed 
the presence of at least 174 wolves, in at least 30 packs, 
scattered across the Upper Peninsula.  This compares with 
last year's count of 140 wolves.  No wolves were confirmed 
in the Lower Peninsula.  
The wolf census is conducted by biologists on snowmobiles or 
snowshoes and from aerial observations of radio-collared 
wolves during the winter.  This year's count was delayed by 
poor tracking snow in early winter.  "This represents a 
minimum count of wolves," said Jim Hammill, Wildlife 
Management Unit Supervisor.  "Since wolves can travel 30 to 
50 miles in a day, we don't include all tracks to eliminate 
as much duplicate counting as possible.  We like to know 
something about the number of wolves traveling in a pack and 
the range they use before we confirm new sightings."
Wolves have increased in the Upper Peninsula from near 
extinction in the 1970s to their present numbers.  It is 
believed all wolves now in Michigan either are descendents 
of Michigan breeding wolves or the result of immigration 
from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario, Canada.  No wolves 
have been trapped and relocated into Michigan since a failed 
attempt to translocate four wolves from Minnesota in the 
Currently the U.S. Department of the Interior is considering 
a proposal to delist wolves in the Great Lakes states.  
"Once the wolf either is reclassified to threatened or 
removed from the list, I would expect a 
similar change to occur in Michigan.  We already have 
exceeded our population goal for downlisting this species 
from endangered in this state," said Raymond Rustem, Natural 
Heritage Program Supervisor. "The wolf represents what can 
be accomplished for endangered species when time and 
tolerance is provided."   
Major portions of Michigan's wolf recovery program are 
supported through citizen donations to the Nongame Fish and 
Wildlife Trust Fund on the state income tax form.  
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