PUBLIC HEARINGS FOCUS ON WOLF RECLASSIFICATION|
LANSING--State natural resource officials today announced
two public hearings to discuss reclassifying the gray wolf
from "endangered" to "threatened" in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking
public comments on its proposal. The hearings will be
conducted Feb. 12, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ramada Inn
in Marquette, and on Feb. 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the
Midway Best Western Hotel in Lansing.
The wolf currently is listed as endangered by both the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Department of
Natural Resources (DNR). In 2000, the USFWS proposed
reclassification at the federal level, and the DNR proposal
mirrors that status at the state level.
A team of federal, state, and tribal biologists in 1997
developed the "Michigan Gray Wolf Recovery and Management
Plan," signed by Director K. L. Cool. The plan outlines
strategies such as education and outreach programs,
population monitoring and research, which are vital to
understanding wolf ecology and maintaining public support
for wolf recovery in Michigan.
The plan requires a combined population goal of 100 wolves
in Michigan and Wisconsin, to be maintained for five
consecutive years before reclassification from "endangered"
to "threatened" can occur in Michigan. That goal has been
exceeded, prompting the DNR to enact the reclassification
The gray wolf population in the Upper Peninsula has
increased from a handful of animals in the mid-1980s to
approximately 250 during the winter count of 2001. Track
surveys to estimate 2002 mid-winter population levels
currently are being conducted and another increase is
Individuals presenting oral comments are asked, if possible,
to provide written copies of their testimony and supporting
data. Comment forms also will be available at the hearings.
Those unable to attend the public hearing may submit written
comments until March 8, 2002, via e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org or via U.S. mail to, Wolf Comments,
Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 30444, Lansing, MI 48909-7944