Another report of a possible wolf killed in interstate highway traffic came to The Daily Journal Wednesday in an email from a motorist driving near Joliet.
Matt Wydra, of Des Plaines, sent an email saying that while he was driving south on Interstate 55, just north of Interstate 80, he saw what he thought might have been a dead wolf on the left shoulder.
That's a bit more than 15 miles from the site where a wolf was found dead north of Morris last month, the first one reported in this area of the state, according to Bob Massey, district wildlife biologist for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Contacted Wednesday, Massey said he would ask a DNR conservation police officer to check the site. He said Thursday morning that he hadn't received any report back.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed that the animal found at Morris was a wolf that wandered south from the Great Lakes packs in Wisconsin.
Last wolf at Lake Village
Robert Jensen, 85, of Grant Park, called last week in response to an article confirming the death of a gray wolf near Morris and reported that his father, the late Knute Jensen, frequently told the story of the killing of the last wolf in the Lake Village, Ind., area, about 30 miles east of Kankakee.
Robert was reacting to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources estimates that the wolf disappeared from our state about 150 years ago as a result of hunting and loss of habitat. "My father, who was born in 1889 at Lake Village remembered the last wolf being killed in that area when he was about five years old," he said.
Isle Royale hopes dashed
The Associated Press environmental writer John Flesher has reported that two gray wolves recently traversed the frozen Lake Superior surface from Canada to Isle Royale National Park, but only stayed five days.
That dashed hopes that ice bridges would induce migrants from the mainland to replenish the island's lagging wolf population, scientists reported.
One wolf was a female that had been fitted with a radio collar last year, enabling biologists to trace her movements. The other was smaller — perhaps an offspring of the female. There is no evidence that either mated during their short time at the island park, said Rolf Peterson, a Michigan Technological University scientist who studies wolves and moose there.
Scientists have long believed wolves first made their way to Isle Royale in the late 1940s by crossing ice that forms during particularly cold winters. They found a plentiful food supply in the moose that inhabit the archipelago in northwestern Lake Superior.
The wolf population has averaged 23 but has fallen drastically in recent years because of inbreeding, disease and a temporary moose shortage, scientists say. Only eight were counted in 2013, the least since the 1950s. Last year's total was nine.
Vern the Coyote rehabbed
The Daily Herald of Arlington Heights also reported from northern Illinois that "Vern the Coyote has gone from grille to the great outdoors."
Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Barrington released the mended mammal last weekend after rehabilitation from injuries from being hit by a car five months ago. The motorist didn't know the animal was stuck in the grille of the car until arriving at his destination.
The rehabilitators named the coyote "Vern" after the Buick Verano that hit him, leaving him wedged in the car's grill, with three broken legs and other fractured bones that could have caused its death.
Flint Creek director Dawn Keller says such releases are never sad. She says coyotes, when freed, "run like the dickens to get away from us. That's what Vern did."