July is “Wildlife Conservation Month” in Michigan

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MICHIGAN (WLUC) – It’s not everyday that anyone can see America’s national bird in nature’s truest elements – but it’s quite common here on the Upper Peninsula.

From bald eagles and white-tailed deer to elk, groups across the region are dedicated to their protection.

And their work is recognized as Governor Whitmer proclaims July “Wildlife Conservation Month” in the state of Michigan.

It’s an appreciation of the work of conservation groups, especially here at UP – and it raises awareness of the work that remains to be done.

“We have two missions here at the Chocolay Raptor Center. The first mission is the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured raptors – birds of prey, ”said Jerry Maynard, co-founder of the Chocolay Raptor Center.

Maynard and his co-founder Bob Jensen opened the center in August 2012, and since then have released dozens of owls, eagles and hawks fit to return to the wild.

Conservation also includes protecting groups from invasive species capable of wiping them out.

“The sea lamprey is a parasitic fish that can kill up to about 40 pounds. of fish in an individual life, ”said Shawn Nowicki, supervisor of the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s sea lamprey control unit.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is part of a larger binational collaboration with Canada for sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes.

They said the efforts had been successful since 1955.

And as the work continues, both groups focus on a second mission: education.

“It’s a great time of year with this month to educate people and make them aware that sea lamprey is detrimental to the Great Lakes fishery and how important the monitoring program is to maintain the fishery. viable and sustainable fishing, ”explained US Fish & Wildlife Service Bioscience Technician Chad Andresen.

“If we can get young people to fall in love with birds like we do, they will spend the rest of their lives helping birds. We are trying to go to schools and we have several programs lined up this summer. We are finally able to start doing programs again after the COVID shutdown last year, ”said Maynard, co-founder of the Chocolay Raptor Center.

Links to learn more about their programs are provided below.

Great Lakes Fisheries Commission: https://www.sealamprey.org/

Chocolay Raptor Center: https://www.facebook.com/ChoclayRaptorCenter/

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