Wolf Awareness Week Set for October 16*22|
Wolf Awareness Week 2005, a way to encourage wolf education and to recognize the wolf as an important part of Michigan's natural heritage, will take place Oct. 16 to 22, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The week is promoted by the DNR, other state and federal agencies and private organizations.
The wolf recovery in Michigan represents a remarkable success for wildlife conservation, according to DNR wildlife officials. After nearly being exterminated from the state by the 1970s, wolves received legal protection and in the late 1980s began returning naturally to the Michigan's Upper Peninsula via Wisconsin and Canada. By the winter of 2005, at least 405 wolves occurred on the U.P. mainland; an additional 30 wolves were found on Isle Royale in Lake Superior. During the past year, officials also confirmed the presence of at least three wolves in the northern Lower Peninsula.
The wolf population in Michigan has exceeded federal recovery goals for several years, and officials anticipate its removal from the federal endangered species list. In preparation for a change in federal status, the DNR is updating the state's wolf management plan. The revised plan will reflect the more active management and education programs required to ensure long-term sustainability of the wolf in Michigan.
"Long-term persistence of the wolf population depends on the continuing support of Michigan residents," said Todd Hogrefe, DNR endangered species coordinator. "With an expanding wolf population, information and education becomes increasingly important for maintaining that support. As always, but during Wolf Awareness Week in particular, we invite everyone to learn more about wolves and wolf management."
To commemorate Wolf Awareness Week, the Timber Wolf Alliance printed posters of Ron Orlando's original artwork titled "Broken Silence." Michigan's Nongame Wildlife Fund supported this effort and a limited number are available through DNR Operations Service Centers. Michigan's citizens can continue to support wolves in Michigan by purchasing a Critical Wildlife Habitat vehicle registration plate from the Secretary of State or by making contributions payable to the "Nongame Wildife Fund," P.O. Box 30180, Lansing, MI 48909.