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      Michigan DNR reports 'stable' wolf population

      The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reporting "no significant change" in the wolf population following a 2014 survey.

      According to the DNR, biologists estimate the wolf population in Michigan to be a minimum of 636 animals. This number is quite close to the 2013 population estimate of 658 wolves.

      "Based on the 2014 minimum population estimate, it is clear that wolf numbers in Michigan are stable and have experienced no significant change," said Adam Bump, DNR furbearer and bear specialist. "We also did not see a significant difference in the number and average size of wolf packs as compared to 2013."

      The DNR was assisted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services in completing the wolf population survey. Roughly 63 percent of the Upper Peninsula was surveyed through tacks, radio-collared animals and aerial observation, according to the DNR.

      Officials report that the population has remained between 600 and 700 wolves over the past few years. A wolf hunt was conducted in the Upper Peninsula in 2013 as a management tool, resulting in 22 wolves being taken. The hunt was conducted around areas that experienced issues between wolves and local landowners.

      "The fact that the 2014 estimate is 22 animals lower than the 2013 estimate is purely a coincidence," Bump added. "We are using an estimate rather than counting all individual wolves on the landscape. In addition, wolf numbers vary greatly within a single year due to the birth of pups in the spring, and deaths from many causes of mortality other than hunting. What the estimate tells us is that the population has remained stable."

      The DNR plans to utilize the information collected during the survey, along with other sources of data, in regards to future management decisions.