A new report from the Michigan Department of Natural Resource's Wildlife Division shows slow growth among Michigan's wolf population.

DNR wildlife biologists estimate there was a minimum of 662 wolves found among 139 packs across the Upper Peninsula this past winter. The 2016 minimum population estimate was 618 wolves.

Fifteen more wolf packs were found during this past winter’s survey than in 2016, but pack size has decreased slightly and now averages less than five wolves.

The survey was conducted from December through April, before wolves had produced pups, and when the population is at its lowest point in the annual cycle.

Over the last four years, Michigan's wolf population has remained relatively stable.

Russ Mason, chief of the DNR’s wildlife division says they have seen a similar trend in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He says, "the western Great Lakes states’ wolf population is thriving and has recovered.”

The wolf survey is completed by DNR Wildlife Division and U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services staff who search specific survey areas for wolf tracks and other signs of wolf activity, such as territorial marking or indications of breeding.

In 2017-2018, approximately 63 percent of the Upper Peninsula was surveyed.