Are wolves becoming a more serious problem?
by Natalie Jovonovich
Animal control officers recently killed three wolves in the Ironwood area, and now residents are concerned: is this becoming a more serious problem?
UPPER PENINSULA — It happened in two separate instances.
Last month, the first two wolves were discovered, and eliminated, in a rural residential area.
A few weeks later, a third wolf was found near a child care center.
Turns out, the three wolves all came from the same pack.
D.N.R. officials have been investigating these cases since November..
Shelley Voakes asked us on Facebook to further investigate why wolves continue to appear in people’s yards in Ironwood.
It’s a problem the D.N.R.’s been dealing with for several months.
“We don’t really have the ability to take wolves just because you see one, but if you have repeated offences where these animals are coming in close contact with people, seem to be losing their fear, that’s when we always urge people to call,” says wildlife biologist Brian Roell.
The D.N.R. wants to prevent any sort of conflict between a wolf and a human, even though there’s never been an attack by a wild wolf in the lower 48 states.
Many of you voiced your concerns on Facebook that the wolf problem is growing, or becoming more serious.
According to D.N.R. officials, these instances are repeatedly happening in the same places.
Wolf activity is more prevalent in Gogebic and Ontonagon counties since that’s where the U.P.’s wolf population is concentrated.
But the reason you’re seeing them, is because of deer.
Deer are the primary prey for wolves.
When people feed deer, they become less fearful, and start venturing further into communities.
The wolves will then follow, and thus the increase in wolf sightings in populated areas.
“Wolves are really given a bad monicker as being aggressive toward humans and they really simply don’t deserve that,” Roell adds. “If these wolves did do anything that was deemed negative, it portrays a bad light on all wolves, so really what we’re trying to do is decrease the chance of anything negative happening before it does occur.”
Some municipalities already have laws in place against feeding wild animals.
Now, if you think there is a wolf problem in your area, you should contact your local D.N.R. office.
Also, as far as de-listing the wolf as an endangered species, the federal government is moving ahead with the process.
There will be a public hearing in Ashland, Wisconsin next month.
Public comments will be accepted until June 15th.