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E-M:/ Fwd- DNR: MICHIGAN'S WOLF POPULATION CONTINUES TO RISE



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Enviro-Mich message from "Jack, Rita" <ritaj@umflint.edu>
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-----Original Message-----
From: Julee Hasbany [mailto:hasbanyj@STATE.MI.US]
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2001 8:46 AM
To: DNRWIRE@LISTSERV.STATE.MI.US
Subject: MICHIGAN'S WOLF POPULATION CONTINUES TO RISE


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 20 JUNE 01
CONTACTS: Jim Hammill, 906-875-6622
Pat Lederle, 517-373-1263

MICHIGAN'S WOLF POPULATION CONTINUES TO RISE

LANSING--Results of the most recent wolf survey 
conducted by the Michigan Department of  Natural Resources 
indicate there are at least 249 wolves now roaming 
Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
DNR Wildlife Biologist Jim Hammill said public 
support, an excellent prey base boosted by recent mild 
winters, and room to roam are key factors in the recovery of 
wolves. The Michigan pack rebounded from a low of three 
animals on Michigan's mainland in 1989, to last year's count 
of 216, to the most recent count of 249.
"We all should be inspired by the fact wolves are 
doing so well in Michigan," Hammill said. "The scientific 
program to recover Michigan's population of wolves is 
working as it should. Further, the public education effort 
has provided the public with a better understanding of the 
balance of nature and ecosystems, predator-prey 
relationships and the public is generally supportive of the 
wolf's return."
During the past winter, more than 2,000 person-hours 
were spent determining the wolf count, which included 
sightings, tracking and other evidence of the presence of 
wolves. In addition, the DNR continues to monitor 38 wolves 
that have been fitted with radio collars.
"We found clear evidence that wolves are present in 
all Upper Peninsula counties," Hammill said, "and we have 
verified several litters of pups this spring that likely 
will add to next year's population." The annual rate of 
increase in recent years has been about 24 percent.
This good news also bodes well for Michigan's ability 
to manage the animals, according to
Pat Lederle, DNR Endangered Species Program Coordinator. 
Federal law provides for a reclassification
of the wolf from endangered to threatened under the U.S. 
Endangered Species Act. Reclassification can be accomplished 
when combined populations in Michigan and Wisconsin reach 
100 wolves for a five-year period. That goal has been met. 
Reclassification under Michigan's endangered species 
protection law also is in progress, a necessary action that 
parallels federal reclassification.
Reclassification will provide flexibility in managing 
the growing wolf population in Michigan and Wisconsin, 
allowing managers to euthanize wolves that have caused 
problems, especially to the livestock industry. The current, 
federally-mandated, "endangered" status does not permit 
lethal control.  "Although it is doubtful such actions 
would be common, the DNR will use lethal control methods if 
it becomes necessary," Lederle said. "The majority of  our 
citizens have welcomed the increasing wolf population, yet 
we are sensitive to human attitudes and the potential for 
the animal's natural activity to cause ill feelings with 
people, especially in the agricultural community."
The DNR, in cooperation with the Michigan Department 
of Agriculture, Defenders of Wildlife and the International 
Wolf Center, recently established a Michigan Wolf 
Compensation Program, which provides complete reimbursement 
to farmers for any livestock killed by a wolf. To date, 
compensation has been paid to five livestock owners in the 
Upper Peninsula who have had cattle or sheep killed by 
wolves. 
The gray wolf is native to Michigan and once was 
relatively abundant across the state. However, numbers 
declined because of persecution by people who viewed wolves 
as dangerous to humans, game populations and the needs of 
the agricultural community. Protection measures at both the 
federal and state levels for many years have allowed the 
wolf population to rebound. All wolves now in Michigan came 
here through natural immigration from Canada, Wisconsin and 
Minnesota, or were born here.
"The recent wolf recovery in Michigan is a remarkable 
story of natural recovery." Hammill said. "It's an amazing 
renewal of a native species to regain its historic place in 
the forest. The return of the wolf is a benefit to the 
entire ecosystem and a conservation success story for 
Michigan."
The DNR encourages citizens to report any sightings of 
wolves. Persons who see a wolf, find a wolf track or other 
evidence of a wolf can contact any DNR office to obtain a 
wolf observation report form and information on wolves in 
Michigan. The form and more information also can found on 
the DNR Web site at www.michigandnr.com.
Wolf recovery efforts are paid for, in part, by the 
Nongame Wildlife Fund. The Fund is supported by citizen 
contributions and the sale of Wildlife Habitat license 
plates.

###

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