My rural postal carrier broke the news to me today. And she had it almost right. "Did you hear they
are releasing wolves in the Lower Pennisula?" One missing word in this rapid fire world of news dissemination can make a world of difference. In this exciting breaking wildlife news story that one word is "captured"
as in "captured and released".
Here is the rest of the story and a photo supplied by the MDNRE: A wolf pack was verified by tracks on the ground in Cheboygan County earlier this year
. An on-going effort to capture and radio-collar an adult wolf brought a surprise. The U.S. Department of Agriculture -Wildlife Services, in partnership with the MDNRE trapped a wolf pup in the northern Lower Peninsula early last week. The live-trapping (and radio-collaring of adults) allows wildlife biologists to "better monitor the distribution, activity and number of wolves in that region" according to MDNRE biologist Jennifer Kleitch. What makes the capture and subsequent release of the 23 pound wolf pup born on 'our' soil - with an identification tag now in the ear - is that this is the first facts-on-the-ground solid evidence of wolves breeding in the Lower Peninsula since wolves were extirpated (killed off) here in the early1900's
. Kleitch added, "It indicates that we have at least one breeding pair in the region and the potential for a growing population." And how did this small pack of wolves arrive on our side of the Big Bridge? It was not some sort of clandestine black ops operations with secret night-running trucks or lightless helicopters hauling them south. They came here the old fashion way: They walked
. Mostly likely across the frozen Straits of Mackinaw a few winters ago, for nature always finds a way. And this writer's guess is there are more than just a mom and pop and a single pup, for Canis lupus does not howl to announce arrival: Howling is communication between individuals--and packs. For information on wolf identification and a wolf reporting form go to www.michigandnr.com/wildlife/pubs/wolf_obsreport.asp