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E-M:/ Northern Lower Peninsula Wolf Survey



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Enviro-Mich message from "Richard Morscheck" <morscher@michigan.gov>
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 17 FEB 05
Contact: Brian Mastenbrook, 989-732-3541 ext. 5430

Northern Lower Peninsula Wolf Survey

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.

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