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wolves

John Vucetich/Rolf Peterson / Michigan Tech University

The Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project has been tracking the rare ecosystem on Isle Royale for almost 60 years. What makes Isle Royale rare is that the island, located in Lake Superior roughly 50 miles from the Upper Peninsula, has just two main animals inhabiting it. The food chain is simple: The wolves are the predators and the moose are the prey.

Recently, the tracking of the wolves and moose on Isle Royale led to an unlikely musical creation. 

Wolf prints in the snow.
Rolf Peterson

Don’t grab your rifle just yet. Wolves are still on the federal endangered species list, so the law won’t take effect until they’re removed.

A 2014 state law allowing wolf hunting was recently struck down by the Michigan Court of Appeals on a technicality.

And at the polls, voters have said “no” to similar legislation multiple times.

Jill Fritz is the director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

“We’re appalled at the open contempt for Michigan voters that Governor Snyder demonstrated by signing this third wolf hunting bill into law,” Fritz says.

Researchers estimate just two wolves remain on Isle Royale.
John Vucetich/Rolf Peterson / Michigan Tech University

The National Park Service is considering bringing more wolves to Isle Royale to save the declining population on Michigan's only national park.

The new report details the expected environmental impact of several plans that could bring more wolves to the island.

The last winter study on the island's wolf population estimates only two wolves remain.

The Park Service’s report lists a “preferred alternative” of importing 20 to 30 wolves to the island, along with three other alternative management plans.

Isle Royale National Park

The National Park Service is taking a closer look at whether or not to bring more grey wolves to Isle Royale National Park. Only two wolves remain on the island now.

To help make its decision, the park service wants to hear from you. It’s accepting public comments on the question right now.

At one point, there were as many as 50 wolves on Isle Royale. But Phyllis Green, Superintendent of the Isle Royale National Park, says that number was abnormal.

Gray wolf confirmed in lower peninsula

Sep 17, 2015
Gray wolf
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

The presence of a gray wolf in Michigan's lower peninsula was confirmed this week.  

In the winter of 2014, a motion-activated wildlife camera on the reservation of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians captured several shots of what appeared to be a wolf.

John Vucetich and Rolf Peterson / Isle Royale Wolf-Moose study

There are just three wolves left on Isle Royale in Lake Superior.  And researchers estimate there are 1,250 moose.  

The National Park Service is deciding whether or not to step in.

The park service is in the early stages of creating a management plan for the wolves and moose on the island.

Gray wolves.
USFWS / Flickr

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it won’t change the status of the gray wolf in Michigan and other Great Lakes states from “endangered” to “threatened.”

Michigan wildlife officials cheered the decision, even though it denies them a measure of flexibility to manage wolves in the western Upper Peninsula.

Researchers believe these are the only remaining wolves on Isle Royale National Park — a mated pair and their offspring (left).
John Vucetich / Michigan Technological University

The wolf population on Isle Royale has been dropping for some time.

There were nine animals last year. In their latest winter study report, researchers on Isle Royale only spotted the three wolves pictured above on the entire island.

John Vucetich and Rolf Peterson / Isle Royale Wolf-Moose study

The ongoing study of wolves and moose on Isle Royale in Lake Superior has hit a critical juncture. Researchers in charge of the longest continuous study of a predator-prey system anywhere in the world released their annual report today. 

You can read the full report here.

Gray wolves.
USFWS / Flickr

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Michigan is joining the federal government in appealing a decision that restores legal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region.

Federal Judge Beryl Howell ruled in December that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erred by dropping the region's wolf population from the list of endangered and threatened species in 2012.

Wolf drawing on the cover of the Michigan Wolf Management Plan.
MDNR

Gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region went back on the federal endangered species list last December. That's when a federal judge vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2011 delisting of the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes.

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service published the final rule in the Federal Register. From the rule:

Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS

The state Senate is urging Congress to end endangered species protections for gray wolves in Michigan. It passed the resolution Tuesday on a mostly party-line vote.

Michigan has been debating for years whether to allow a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. That question was recently put to rest when a federal judge ordered Michigan wolves back on the endangered species list.

USFWS

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Wolf attacks in Michigan's Upper Peninsula killed at least 26 cattle and 17 hunting dogs last year.

MLive.com says the numbers come from the Department of Natural Resources, through Dec. 22. The number of attacks, 35, was higher than the 20 reported in 2013.

Rolf O. Peterson / Michigan Tech

The winter study of the wolves and moose on Isle Royale is heading into its 57th year. 

The wolf-moose study is the longest continuous study of any predator and its prey in the world.

Scientists Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich spend seven weeks on the island in the middle of winter every year. They'll be heading back out in a few weeks.

Wolf on Isle Royale.
IsleRoyaleWolf.org

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A federal judge has overturned an Obama administration decision to remove the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list.

The order affects wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed federal protections from those wolves in 2012 and handed over management to the states.

In an order Friday, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that the removal was "arbitrary and capricious" and violates the federal Endangered Species Act.

USFWS

State wildlife officials are looking for wolf poachers in the Upper Peninsula.

Two wolves were killed last month in Mackinac and Schoolcraft counties.

In one case, a tracking collar on one of the wolves was removed. 

USFWS

Michigan voters rejected a pair of referenda on state laws authorizing a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Wolf hunt opponents celebrated tonight.  

“The people of Michigan have shown that they don’t want the trophy hunting and trapping of wolves,” says Jill Fritz with the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

But this may just be a pyrrhic victory for wolf hunting opponents. The results of Tuesday’s vote amount to a non-binding referendum.

USFWS Midwest

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss what could happen to the state Legislature after the election, possible surprises in congressional races and the wolf hunting proposal votes which may not matter.


Many wolf hunt opponents complain state lawmakers are circumventing November's two referendums.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People for and against a wolf hunt in Michigan are at the state Capitol today.

Orange-wearing hunters are mixing with people waving signs calling for protecting Michigan’s wolves.

The state House is poised to vote on the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The act would open the door once again to wolf hunting. The state Senate has already voted in favor of the act.  

USFWS

Michigan hunters could find wolves in their crosshairs again later this year, if the state House approves legislation on Wednesday.

Last year, hunters killed 22 wolves in a state-sanctioned hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Plans for another wolf hunt this fall were shelved after opponents collected enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot. They did so again when state lawmakers passed another law to authorize a wolf hunt.

NOAA

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss how flooding in Detroit will impact infrastructure, how the Senate might vote on legislation to allow wolf hunting in Michigan, and what the state is doing to make sure charter schools are up to snuff.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state Senate is back in Lansing tomorrow for one day before resuming its summer recess.

It appears likely the Senate will vote on petition-initiated legislation to allow wolf hunting in Michigan, and give a state commission direct control over decisions on which species may be hunted.

The state House is expected to follow suit later this month.

The initiative is meant to circumvent two referenda on wolf-hunting laws adopted by the Legislature.

USFWS

The State Senate may vote this week on a proposal that could once again open the door to wolf hunting in Michigan.

Hunting groups collected enough petition signatures on a proposed law giving state wildlife officials total control on which animals will be hunted in Michigan.

Drew YoungeDyke is with Michigan United Conservation Clubs. He insists the hunting groups are not trying to outflank groups opposed to hunting wolves in Michigan.

Larry McGahey / Flickr

A petition that would allow future wolf hunts in the Upper Peninsula is headed to the state Legislature.

The initiative would allow the hunts regardless of how two anti-wolf hunting referendums turn out.

A state elections board approved almost 300,000 petition signatures for the proposal today.

State lawmakers have 40 days to pass the measure. Otherwise, it will go on the statewide ballot in November.

Bob LaBrant is with the group that gathered the signatures. He says it’s clear the Legislature supports wolf hunting and will approve the measure.

“We think the Legislature, who’s already dealt with this subject twice only to be frustrated by referendums, will prevail in the end.”

The petition could still be challenged in court. Opponents of wolf hunting say it deals with too many issues unrelated to wolf hunting.

*This post has been updated.

USFWS Midwest

After spending months collecting signatures, hunting groups plan to deliver their petitions to the Secretary of State’s office tomorrow.

The petition is aimed at cementing a wolf hunt in Michigan law.

In November, voters will decide two ballot questions challenging state laws allowing the state to authorize a wolf hunt. Last year, nearly two dozen wolves were shot and killed by hunters in the Upper Peninsula during a state sanctioned wolf hunt.

Wolf hunt opponents say the hunt is unnecessary for a species just recently removed from the endangered list.

USFWS Midwest

Michigan hunters are in the final phases of collecting signatures on a statewide petition drive to allow the state’s controversial wolf hunt to continue.

Hunters killed 22 wolves in three specific zones in the Upper Peninsula last year. The hunt was the first after the gray wolf was removed from the endangered species list.

endangeredspecieslawandpolicy.com

The 45-day wolf hunting season that began November 15 inflamed passions, both pro and con.

Now that the first-ever wolf hunt is wrapped up, what were the results?

John Barnes explored the impact of the hunt in a recent piece for MLive, which breaks down the ages of the 22 wolves killed over the course of the hunt. He joined us on Stateside today (you can listen to the audio above).

www.isleroyalewolf.org

It’s the 56th year of the study of Isle Royale’s wolves and moose. Researchers at Michigan Tech have just finished this year’s Winter Study.

Rolf Peterson is a research professor at Michigan Tech and he just spent his 44th winter on the island. I called him up to find out how the animals are doing. This year, the team counted nine wolves, up from eight last year.

“I guess I’d say they’re bumping along at the bottom, the bottom of where they’ve been for the last 56 years. So for the last three years, there have been either eight or nine animals total, and that’s as low as we’ve seen them.”

USFWS Midwest

There are fewer wolves living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

State wildlife biologists report a slight dip in the wolf population following last fall’s controversial hunt.

The Department of Natural Resources has just completed a census of wolves in the Upper Peninsula. The DNR admits the count is more of an estimate than an accurate head count.

USFWS Midwest

Once again, pollsters say a majority of Michiganders support a state sanctioned wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Hunters killed 23 wolves last year in the state’s first official wolf hunt. State wildlife officials had set a goal of 43 wolves.

The controversial wolf hunt could be the subject of three questions on the November ballot.

A new poll by Marketing Resource Group of Lansing shows wolf hunt opponents may have more work to do to convince voters.

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