Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wolf News

Researchers at Central Michigan University will conduct a survey of wolves with the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians. CMU associate professor Tom Gehring received a $78,000 three-year grant from the tribe to conduct a survey of wolf populations in Cheboygan, Emmet and Presque Isle counties at the tip of Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula, an area of about 295,000 acres with more than 197,000 acres of forest.

With the tribe's help, Gehring and two graduate students will develop a plan for monitoring and mapping wolf recovery. Gehring is recruiting a third graduate student to help develop an educational outreach program and work on the management plan for the tribe.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources is also conducting a grey wolf survey now through March 10, targeting nine priority areas north of M-32. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services and the Little Traverse Band of Odawa Indians will assist in monitoring roas and trails for signs of wolves. Survey teams will also search the areas on snowmobiles and snowshoes.

Search efforts will be mainly in areas where wolf sightings have been reported and the department is encouraging citizens to notify officials of wolf sightings in the survey area. Call the DNR's Gaylord Field Office at (989)732-3541, ext. 5901, to report sightings.

In Illinois, DNA tests have determined that a wolf shot in Pike County in December was wild and probably traveled hundreds of miles to reach west-central Illinois. An asshole in New Canton shot the wolf while hunting for coyotes.

This beautiful creature was stuffed and mounted, and then sent to the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Ashland, Oregon, where scientists concluded the wolf was wild and part of the Great Lakes pack originating in Minnesota, Wisconsin or Michigan.

This is the third wild wolf confirmed in the state since 2002, and some wildlife experts think that is a sign that wolves are on their way back to Illinois.

"We know that we've got wolves dispersing out of (the Great Lakes pack), but we only hear about them if they are killed somehow," said Mike DonCarlos, wildlife program manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "They're looking for new territories, and some animals will disperse very long distances, hundred of miles."

No charges have been filed in the case of the Pike County wolf, but it is still "considered a pending investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

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