Wolf population increasing in the UP


Mar 11, 2001
Reaction score
Wolf population increasing in the UP

May 2, 2002


TRAVERSE CITY -- At least 278 gray wolves live in the Upper Peninsula, further evidence that the animal is firmly entrenched in the area where it had all but died out decades ago.

An annual census conducted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources last winter found that the wolf population had risen from last year's estimate of 249, experts said Wednesday.

"If we have a normal year of pup production, we expect to see another increase in the 2003 winter survey," said Jim Hammill, a wildlife biologist based in Crystal Falls.

The numbers strengthen the case for upgrading the wolf's classification from endangered -- or, on the brink of extinction -- to threatened, said Pat Lederle, coordinator of the DNR's endangered species program.

The change is to take place at the state level by early July. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to make the change later this year.

DNR scientists count wolves by tracking, aerial observation and other methods. The DNR regularly tracks the movements and survival rates of about 40 radio-collared wolves.

Hammill said this year's population estimate was conservative.

Although wolves apparently have not made their way to the Lower Peninsula, they were found in every UP county. Gogebic, with 65, had the most; Keweenaw had the least -- two.

The heaviest concentrations remained in counties along the Wisconsin border. The recovery in Michigan resulted entirely from migration from Minnesota, Wisconsin and possibly Ontario.

The biggest practical effect of changing the wolf's status to threatened would be permitting wildlife managers to kill those that repeatedly attack farm animals.


Top Bottom