Michiganders Can Help In DNR’s Lower Peninsula Wolf Surveys
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ is hoping citizens can help them track the presence of gray wolves in the northern Lower Peninsula. Wolf surveys are taking place February 19th through March 15th.
“The probability of DNR personnel observing an actual wolf or its tracks in the northern Lower Peninsula is very low. It’s helpful to have as many eyes as possible looking, so public reports are important for this survey.” - DNR Wildlife Biologist Jennifer Kleitch
Wolves began naturally returning to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula through Canada and Wisconsin in the early 1990s. The population has increased since then and now occupies a suitable habitat throughout the U.P. While the Straits of Mackinac is not an absolute barrier for wolves moving from the U.P. to the northern Lower Peninsula, it is a significant obstacle, especially when there is not complete ice cover.
In recent times, gray wolves were first observed in the northern Lower Peninsula in 2004. A wolf was accidentally killed in Presque Isle County. In 2014, the presence of another gray wolf was identified through genetic analysis of a scat sample collected in Emmet County.
If you see a wolf or wolf sign between Feb. 19 and March 15, please call the DNR Atlanta Field Office at 989-785-4251, ext. 5233 or report sightings online at the Eyes in the Field link which we have posted HERE
Reports will be recorded and potentially investigated if recent sign is present. Priority will be placed on reports north of M-55.
“It’s important that observations are reported in a timely manner so we can work with fresh sign. Those who find what they believe are wolf tracks should preserve the physical sign and take a photo of the tracks with a ruler in the frame to indicate size. We’d also be very interested in any recent pictures of a wolf in the Northern Lower Peninsula.” - DNR Wildlife Biologist Jennifer Kleitch
The winter wolf survey is conducted in partnership with the DNR, USDA Wildlife Services, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Grand Traverse Band or Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.