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      Wolf poacher sought

      Officials with the DNRE and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are seeking the public's help in a wolf poaching case in Luce County.

      The body of a wolf, dead from a gunshot wound, was found south of Newberry on February 11.

      "The wolf was killed during a snow storm, which has made the investigation a bit difficult," said DNRE spokesperson Debbie Munson Badini, "but we are optimistic that someone may have information that could help us close this case."

      A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the subject or subjects responsible for the killing. Anyone with information is urged to call (800) 292-7800. Information may be left anonymously.

      The maximum penalty for poaching a wolf is 90 days in jail or a fine of up to $1000, or both, plus reimbursement of $1500 to the state. Hunting privileges can also be suspended for three years.

      Wolves are a federally protected species in Michigan and cannot be legally killed except in defense of human life.

      There are an estimated 600 wolves now living in the Upper Peninsula. Their protection as an endangered species has provoked controversy throughout the U.P. for decades.

      Officials say there were 12 verified illegal kills in the UP in 2009, and 14 in 2010.

      "We believe that people are starting to lose patience with the delisting process and are taking matters into their own hands," Badini explained. "What they might not understand is that each time a wolf is killed illegally, it sets us back even further in our efforts to see wolves removed from the Endangered Species List and returned to state control."

      For more information on wolves in Michigan, click here .