DNR talks bobcats and snowshoe hares at 'Wildlife Through Forestry' forum

ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - Bobcats and snowshoe hares were the topics of conversation at the 'Wildlife Through Forestry' forum on Tuesday.

"The bobcats are highly dependent on the snowshoe hare, we want to show that interrelationship," says DNR Service Forester, Gary Willis. "Our goal is to have a good time, and we also want to go deeper, we want people to learn more about these species."

For the past three years, the Department of Natural Resources has been diving into topics people want to learn about.

"They want to go deeper into the subject, they want to learn more about these animals," says Willis. "We have found that the number one reason private land owners buy land is wildlife."

The DNR brings in experts at each forum to speak on the topics, like Eric Clark, who studies snowshoe hares for the Sault St. Marie tribe of the Chippewa Indians.

"They're a culturally important species, an important species for subsistence, harvest, and just in terms of the ecology of the North Woods they're a very important prey species," lead wildlife biologist for the Sault St. Marie tribe of the Chippewa Indians.

Also tonight, speakers presented how to preserve populations and what landowners can do to protect them.

"We've done a lot of work with climate change vulnerability assessments and there's sort of lots of information out there that suggest snowshoe hare are vulnerable to climate change," says Clark.

"We've found that the more people know about their land and the wildlife on it, the more they're going to love their land, the more they're going to manage it properly, and the more chance they'll be a forest legacy, where they will pass their land down to their heirs," says Willis.