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      40 years of protecting Endangered Species

      This week is Threatened and Endangered Species Week in Michigan.

      And this year marks the 40th anniversary of Michigan's Endangered Species Act.

      It was signed into law in 1974 by Governor Milliken.

      The Department of Natural Resources says the act has helped species off the list and get their numbers back up.

      "This is critical to the recovery of many different species in our area," said Melanie Brand, Van Riper State Park.

      There are about 400 species listed as threatened or endangered in Michigan right now.

      But seven species were removed from the list, because their numbers recovered.

      The act, signed into law in 1974, protects all wildlife listed as endangered or threatened.

      If someone violates this law, the person is considered guilty of a misdemeanor, and could get up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.

      "Gray wolves were previously an endangered species, and now that because they were protected for so long, now they're abundant in the area. So they're one that has been taken off, and also eagles have been removed from the endangered species list so it protects them to make them more abundant in wildlife and help protect our ecosystems," said Brand.

      Jerry Maynard, Owner & President of the Chocolay Raptor Center in Marquette, says due to the Michigan Endangered Species Act, Peregrine Falcons have the opportunity to make a comeback.

      "Peregrine falcons were extirpated in the 1950's from the Upper Peninsula and no longer around. And we had not seen any, and there have not been any in Marquette until 2011," said Maynard.

      Phoenix, Maynard's rescue Peregrine Falcon, was the first of his kind born in Marquette after about 60 years.

      Phoenix is missing an eye from an accident, and is a permanent resident at the Chocolay Raptor Center.

      "For a listed species, the environment that they live in becomes protected. And I think protecting ecological niches is a very important part of having a healthy environment for everybody, including humans," said Maynard.

      In honor of Threatened and Endangered Species Week, Van Riper State Park in Champion is holding a series of activities at their playground and campfire circle Tuesday through Friday.

      For the list of activities, click here.

      For the Michigan Endangered Species List,click here.