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August 11, 2003
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By SCOTT BRAND/The Evening News
ENGADINE -- The shooting of a 65-pound female wolf in Mackinac County marks a new direction in wildlife management for our area.
"The wolf was reclassified as threatened on April 1 of this year," explained DNR Wildlife Supervisor Tom Weise of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources speaking from the regional headquarters in Newberry. "It allows us to take wolves if they are killing livestock."
The female wolf was shot last week as it fed on the carcass of a calf, by a wildlife assistant with the DNR. Weise said the wolf's proximity to the carcass made it easy for the agent to determine he had the right animal before pulling the trigger.
"It's hard to get any more selective than that," said Weise, adding the department is only targeting the problem animals. "That is what we are supposed to do and it worked out well this time."
Weise and company believe the evidence shows this particular wolf was responsible for three separate incidents in recent months.
The first occurred toward the end of May when a calf was killed on a dairy farm by a wolf. The animal apparently acted alone and fed on the remains briefly at the kill site before dragging the carcass across a nearby road. Attempts to trap this animal went on for approximately two weeks, but it eluded capture.
On July 30, an incident following a similar pattern occurred at another farm approximately three miles away. It fed on the kill site and then carried the carcass across a nearby road.
The final incident, the one that resulted in the shooting of the wolf, occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 4. Like the other incidents, the animal killed a calf and carried it across the road.
Weise said in each case the tracks indicated it was a smaller wolf, acting alone. The similarities did not end there as the animal also carried the carcass away from the kill site for additional feeding, crossing roads in the process.
With the exception of the Engadine animal, the summer of 2003 has been a relatively quiet one on the wolf front. Weise said it appears as though wolves killed two bear dogs on Sugar Island during the first weekend in August, while coyotes were later determined to be the cause of a calf kill near Germfask.
Weise said the DNR relies on the public to provide immediate information when it is asked to investigate wolf kills. He added that it is extremely tough to figure out what happened "six weeks later when someone is missing some calves and they think wolves did it."
Under the new federal regulations established on April 1, the wolf was downgraded from endangered to threatened allowing for lethal remedies in specific circumstances. The DNR and other wildlife or law enforcement agencies are the only ones allowed to use lethal means in dealing with wolves. The general populace is still prohibited from taking this type of action.
There are more than 300 wolves estimated to be in the Upper Peninsula with the highest concentrations in the western end.
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