Michigan which is known to have 7 national parks contains most of the state-run parks and wildlife reserves. The state also has a sizeable number of wolves.
Recent findings by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources point to a stable population of Gray wolves in the upper peninsula of Michigan.
Though wolves pose no threat to human life, there have been various cases of wolves attacking and stealing livestock and pets. No attacks on humans have been reported so far, however with population rising in suburbs and cities expanding their areas, an encounter and further attack cannot be ruled out, especially when food or pups are considered. Therefore, it isn’t insignificant to know more about wolves in Michigan.
Below I’ve explained all the things you need to know about the wolves in Michigan.
Are There Any Wolves in Michigan?
Yes. Michigan has a sturdy population of wolves. There isn’t an increase in the population, but a stable population of wolves is much appreciated. However, there was a time when there were only a few wolves in Michigan which you could just easily count with your fingers.
In the early 1800s, as Europeans settled in North America, many of the forest lands were converted into farms for agriculture and livestock. As wolves started stealing livestock, people in the state started killing them mostly using poison.
Soon, only a few wolves were left in the state of Michigan. Thanks to various efforts by the state and conservationists, the wolf population across the state was revived.
How Many Wolves Are Left in Michigan?
As per a recent survey conducted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the number of Gray wolves in the state stands at 677 including the 15 wolves on Isle Royale.
We have to laude the efforts of Michigan state authorities for the increase in the wolf population. After their population plummeted down between 1850 and 1960, wolves were added to the threatened and endangered categories thereby a protection under the Endangered species act.
This encouraged movement of wolves from Wisconsin into Michigan which soon led to a rise in population in the state.
Where Do Wolves Live in Michigan?
Wolves are pack hunters and are almost never spotted alone. Once upon a time, these clever creatures were found all across the state of Michigan. However, due to rapid killing, less prey population, and urbanization their population is now restricted to a few parts of Michigan alone.
It is important to note that there were only 2-3 wolves in Isle Royale before National Park Service decided to repopulate the land with about 30 more wolves.
Prey animals like moose were also introduced to the island to support the wolf’s survival as there were no natural prey found in the island prior to that.
In addition to Isle Royale, Gray wolves in Michigan state are only found in the upper peninsula region. Thanks to the efforts by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and National Park Service, wolves now occupy 90% of the area in upper Peninsula and 100% area of Isle Royale.
Also Check Our Guide On Wolves In US
Are There Wolves in Detroit?
Wolves in the North American continent have grey or black fur. They have a great sense of smell which helps them sense prey even a mile further from them.
Currently, only 2 wolves are found in the city of Detroit. These wolves are found in the Cotton Family Wolf Wilderness located near Detroit Zoo. Named Kaska and Renner, the two wolves live on 2 acres of land with grassy hills, meadows, and ponds.
How Big Is a Michigan Wolf?
Similar to wolves found in other states, the Gray wolves of Michigan weigh anywhere between 54 to 67 pounds with a maximum reaching 100 pounds. Note that male wolves weigh more than females.
With an overall length of 1.5 m and a tail length of 0.5 m, wolves resemble dogs and coyotes.
However, they can be easily differentiated by looking a bit closer into their characteristics.
Coyotes are only about half the size of wolves, which is pretty easy to spot. In addition to this, wolves will move their tails horizontally while dogs will bob their back as they are more.
Add to this, wolves are pack animals, and you will never encounter one alone. If you do encounter one, it means that the others are nearby.
Also Check Our Guide On Wolf In Florida
Does Michigan Have a Wolf Problem?
Currently, the state of Michigan has a stable population of wolves. It was not so, 60 years back. After being hunted, poisoned, and placed on a bounty, their population has been revived due to a combined effort from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the National Park Service.
Though the population of the Upper Peninsula is stable only the population in Isle Royale is increasing. Adding to this, there have been no attacks by wolves in the state of Michigan. These facts clearly highlight how Michigan does not have a wolf problem.
How Many Wolf Attacks in Michigan?
Contrary to popular belief, wolves will rarely attack/ chase humans to eat. They actually try to avoid any encounter with humans as much as possible. Wolves’ diet includes moose, deer, rabbits, and other small animals. They, however, may kill livestock or small pets when unable to find prey.
There have been very few wolf attacks on livestock in the state of Michigan. But these have not resulted in any injuries to humans. So safe to say that if you live in Michigan, you mostly will never be attacked by a wolf. However, the same cannot be said for your pet or livestock.
Can You Hunt Wolves in Michigan?
In the past, wolves were hunted, poisoned, and killed as a sport. As their numbers soon reduced to single digits, Wolves were added to the endangered list. This meant that wolves could not be killed or caught or hunted by any means in the state of Michigan.
However, it is legal to kill one if it poses a threat to human life. The kill should be immediately reported to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. In case you have a wolf problem due to livestock loss, you can approach the government agents who will investigate the issue and if required, will catch the wolf (s), and relocate them.
And that was everything you need to know about the wolves in Michigan. I hope this article was helpful and your queries were answered.
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I’m a passionate animal lover and researcher, I’ve created this website so that people can learn about the size and characteristics of different animal species. My goal is to educate and inspire people to appreciate the diversity of our planet’s wildlife.