wildlife

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Some members of the U.S. House of Representatives are meeting in northern Michigan on Monday to discuss lethal control of a fish-eating bird. 

University of Wisconsin

A large number of dead fish have been washing up on the shores of a lake near Gaylord. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the dead fish along Otsego Lake are adult white suckers that have died after spawning.

DNR biologist Dave Borgeson says fish die-offs happen in Michigan’s inland lakes every year, but this one is unusually large.

“There’s a lot more suckers this year,” says Borgeson. “I think it had to do with a late spring and then that really rapid warm up, which caused it to be a little more dramatic this year.”

Dan Kennedy / Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Environmentalists will celebrate the return of the Kirtland’s warbler this weekend.

The small songbird has been on the brink of extinction since 1973. It was put on the endangered species list that same year.

Great Lakes islands aim to help each other

Sep 29, 2017
Elizabeth Miller/ideastream

There are thousands of islands in the Great Lakes – most of them small and only suitable for wildlife.  But a few have people living there year-round, and there is a burgeoning plan to create an islands coalition.

Year-round island communities like the one at Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie’s South Bass Island face challenges we don’t have here on the mainland.  Peter Huston works for Put-in-Bay’s Chamber of Commerce.  “It’s being able to have a reasonable year-round economy, transportation, food,” says Huston.

Leaping from branch to branch, bearing nuts and acorns, teasing backyard dogs by staying just out of reach; let’s face it — squirrels are so common in Michigan that it’s easy for us to take their presence for granted.

But, just as Holden Caufield worried about where the ducks go in winter, we got to wondering: where do squirrels go? Do they cluster up in hibernation holes? Or perhaps join Michigan snowbirds and head south to warmer locales?

Does killing coyotes make things safer for livestock?

Last winter, Stateside did a story about a sporting goods store near the Irish Hills that held a bounty hunt on coyotes. The store said the hunt came in response to customers who expressed worry about their chicken coops and family dogs.

Megan Draheim, a lecturer in conservation biology and human dimensions of wildlife at Virginia Tech, joined Stateside today with a differing perspective. She said there’s no evidence that killing coyotes makes livestock safer. In fact, she said it can make the coyote-human problem even worse.

We know hunters who take deer or goose out of season are poachers. But what about those who take a plant from a park or a reserve without permission?

They too are poachers and plant poaching can be a huge, illegal business.

The Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project has been tracking the rare ecosystem on Isle Royale for almost 60 years. What makes Isle Royale rare is that the island, located in Lake Superior roughly 50 miles from the Upper Peninsula, has just two main animals inhabiting it. The food chain is simple: The wolves are the predators and the moose are the prey.

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Recently, the tracking of the wolves and moose on Isle Royale led to an unlikely musical creation. 

Sam Corden

Researchers who work in wetlands in Michigan are taking a new approach to invasive plants. Instead of removing plants like phragmites and switchgrass, they’re harvesting them. They say these plants are a threat to biodiversity, but they can benefit farmers and even power homes.

A lot of people spent the Fourth of July weekend grilling out or swimming at the beach. But Cale Nordmeyer spent his time trudging through the muck and grasses in a Michigan wetland.

Nordmeyer works for the Minnesota Zoo and he’s on a mission with a small window of time. He’s part of a small team of researchers working to save endangered Poweshiek skipperlings.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has halted programs to reduce the number of cormorants in the Great Lakes region. The federal government and tribes in Michigan kill the birds to protect yellow perch, walleye and other fish. But the judge said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service overstepped its bounds when it authorized killing cormorants in more than 20 states.

Peter Payette visited the Les Cheneaux Islands in Michigan this week to talk to people who live there.

Carbon TV

A live webcam at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery has been getting a lot of attention. The camera sits 100 feet up in a tree. It's focused on a nest where a pair of eagles has been caring for two eggs.

Early Tuesday morning, one of the eggs hatched. And Tuesday afternoon, it appeared the second egg was close to hatching, too.

City of Gaylord

Wildlife officials say the elk population in northern Michigan is stable.

The state Department of Natural Resources uses two small airplanes to count the elk herd near Gaylord. This year, DNR estimates the herd at about 1,300 elk. That compares to about 1,000 elk in 2012.

Biologists say wild elk had disappeared from Michigan in the late 1800s. The elk herd that can be found today is descended from seven elk that were released in 1918.

That question might surprise those who didn't realize pigeons are "a thing" in the Metro Detroit area.

Immigrants from Belgium came to Detroit and brought their national passion of pigeon racing with them and it spread from there.

See this clip of an old pigeon race from the Detroit News:

When you think about rattlesnakes, you might picture Arizona. Or Texas. Somewhere out in the desert. But one snake’s rattle doesn’t come from the deserts of the Southwest. It’s from the pine forests of Michigan.

In fact, Michigan is a stronghold for the eastern massasauga rattlesnake.

A serious health threat to state’s wild deer population has been detected in mid-Michigan. 

A six-year-old doe found in Haslett last month has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. 

The neurological disease is always fatal.  The disease is transmitted through saliva and other bodily fluids.   The disease is fatal to deer, elk and moose. 

National Park Service

Black bears are coming out of hibernation in northern Michigan. Wildlife experts advise residents to remove anything from their homes that might attract bears – like bird feeders or garbage.

DNR Wildlife Biologist Kevin Sweeney says spring is a stressful time for bears.

“Bears are moving right now, obviously," says Sweeney. "They’ve emerged from their dens in most areas. We’ve got new cubs at that time. The sows and boars are very hungry so they travel quite a bit in the spring.”

New York Department of Environmental Conservation

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has put the northern long-eared bat on the “threatened” species list. The agency stopped short of saying the species is in danger of being wiped out by white-nose bat syndrome. The fungus has already killed millions of bats across the country.

Dan Kennedy is an endangered species expert with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He says the decision gives state wildlife officials more time to plan while the bats hibernate.

Fish populations native to Michigan such as lake sturgeon, walleye, and lake whitefish have been declining in recent years.

As a result, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has built spawning reefs in rivers around Michigan, including the St. Clair River.

A spawning reef is a crevice-filled rock bed designed to mimic the natural limestone reefs that previously existed.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

A Michigan Tech biologist says wolves should be brought to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior if officials want to save island vegetation.

John Vucetich heads a study of the predator-prey relationship in the park between wolves and moose. He says more wolves would help keep the moose population under control. He says, if left unchecked, moose will over-browse and decimate the island’s vegetation.

Vucetich says this is the point where scientists must ask themselves what the purpose of a protected area is.

The 45-day wolf hunting season that began November 15 inflamed passions, both pro and con.

Now that the first-ever wolf hunt is wrapped up, what were the results?

John Barnes explored the impact of the hunt in a recent piece for MLive, which breaks down the ages of the 22 wolves killed over the course of the hunt. He joined us on Stateside today (you can listen to the audio above).

Devastating Disease Found In Michigan Bats

Apr 10, 2014
USGS

A disease devastating bats throughout the American northeast has now spread to Michigan. White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in three Michigan counties: Alpena, Mackinac and Dickinson. 

Bats play a critical role for farms and forests by eating insects, lots of them.

“Bats in Michigan had an economic benefit of $528 million to $1.2 billion dollars for farmers,” says Bill Scullon, the statewide bat program coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The campaign to stop wolf hunts in Michigan says it has more than enough petition signatures to get a referendum on the November ballot. This would be the second ballot challenge to a wolf hunt because the state’s first wolf hunting law was blocked by a petition challenge that will also go before voters in November.

The Legislature got around that by passing a new law that’s the target of this ballot drive.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

A group hoping to end wolf hunting in Michigan says a law banning out-of-state petition circulators is unconstitutional. It filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court challenging the law.

Right now, only Michigan residents are allowed to collect signatures for ballot campaigns and voter initiatives.

Nearly a hundred years ago a small animal that most people have never heard of was wiped out of the northern forest.

In the mid-1980’s, wildlife biologists reintroduced the pine marten in two locations in the Lower Peninsula. They thought the population would take off and spread but it hasn’t.

And now researchers are trying to find out why.

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