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Gray wolf confirmed in lower peninsula

Sep 17, 2015

The gray wolf captured on a wildlife camera in the northwestern lower peninsula.
Credit 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.

The tribe said a biologist with the LTBB Natural Resource Department found tracks consistent with those of a wolf in the vicinity of the camera.

DNA analysis of scat also found in the location confirmed the presence of a male gray wolf.

It's the first confirmed sighting of a gray wolf on the LTBB reservation, although Doug Craven, director of the LTBB's Natural Resource Department, said there have been anecdotal reports of others. 

Craven said the reservation has been using a bait station and tracking surveys to monitor for wolves for nearly 15 years.

He said the recent confirmed sighting didn't surprise him, given the severity Michigan's last two winters. 

"There's been quite a bit of ice coverage, making it entirely possible that wolves from the UP or even Ontario can easily cross the ice to get into northern lower Michigan," Craven said.

This is only the second confirmed gray wolf sighting in the lower peninsula since 1910. 

In 2004, a coyote hunter in Presque Isle County accidentally killed a gray wolf that had been previously trapped and collared.

Gray wolves are currently listed as "endangered" in Michigan.