Thank Wolves For Less Vehicle Accidents With Deer in U.P.
The number of vehicles hitting deer in Michigan's Upper Peninsula are way down since wolves were introduced into the region.
When I have traveled in the U.P. in the past, I have been lucky enough to see countless deer, turkeys, coyote's, the occasional black bear and even a couple of moose but I have yet to see the great white norths most fierce predator, the wolf.
Wolves were returned to Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the early 1990s and 2000s. Wolves were once native to the area but over time hunters and farmers wiped them out and that is when the deer numbers got out of control.
According to WOOD, Michigan Tech researcher Rolf Peterson said, "when wolves moved in, the deer-vehicle collisions went way down."
Scientists say once the wolves colonize they create a landscape of fear for deer and that fear has led to less auto collisions with deer.
The wolves do a good job thinning the herd but their activity toward deer has the deer changing their behavior to avoid the wolves and a lot of time that change has deer avoiding roads.
Peterson said, "when you have a major predator around, it impacts how the prey behave. Wolves use linear features of a landscape as travel corridors, like roads, pipelines and stream beds. Deer learn this and can adapt by staying away." Hence less deer getting hit by vehicles.
The only problem the wolves seem to be causing in the U.P. are with livestock. Livestock is almost always fenced in so that means it can only go in a few directions and a pack of wolves have no trouble taking down fenced in livestock.
So as the wolves bring down collisions with deer which is saving insurance companies millions of dollars, the flip side is the insurance companies footing the bill in some cases for loss of livestock due to wolf pack's.
Hopefully now that there are less deer and auto accidents in the U.P. the insurance companies in Michigan can find a way to lower their rates...yeah right.