TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The gray wolf population in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula appears to have declined slightly in recent years, but state biologists say it’s stable and healthy.
The Department of Natural Resources estimates the minimum number of wolves at 618, based on survey results announced Thursday. That’s down from previous estimates of 636 wolves two years ago and 687 in 2011.
But wildlife management specialist Kevin Swanson says when statistical error margins are factored in, the population likely has changed little if at all.
The survey is based on track counts and aerial observation of wolves wearing radio tracing collars.
Wolves had all but disappeared from Michigan by the 1970s but rebounded after getting federal protection.
Courts have rejected attempts to remove wolves in the Great Lakes region from the endangered species list.