The Department of Natural Resources will conduct a wolf track survey Feb. 11 through March 8, 2013, to detect the presence of gray wolves in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
“Given the low probability of observing an actual wolf or its tracks in the Lower Peninsula, it’s helpful to have as many eyes looking as possible,” said DNR wildlife biologist Jennifer Kleitch. “That’s why public reports are so important.”
Sightings of wolves or tracks believed to have been made by a wolf, between Feb. 11 and March 8 can be reported to the Gaylord Operations Service Center at 989-732-3541, ext. 5901. Wolf observation reports can also be submitted online at www.dnr.state.mi.us/wildlife/pubs/wolf_obsreport.asp.
Wolves began naturally returning to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula via Canada and Wisconsin in the early 1990s. Since that time populations have increased and continue to expand their range. Evidence of range expansion into the Lower Peninsula came when a gray wolf was accidentally killed in Presque Isle County in 2004.
Survey teams will respond to areas where there have been one or more observations. Priority will be placed on recent reports and those submitted during the survey period.
“It’s important that observations are reported promptly so we can work with fresh evidence. If people find what they believe are wolf tracks, they should preserve the track, disturbing it as little as possible, or take a photo of the tracks with a ruler,” stated Kleitch. “If someone has a photo of a wolf in the Lower Peninsula, we’d certainly be interested in that as well.”
The DNR is partnering in this survey effort with USDA Wildlife Services, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.
Information on wolves in Michigan and links to other wolf-related Web pages can be found at www.michigan.gov/wolves.