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After near extinction in Michigan, wild turkeys become symbol of conservation success

two wild turkeys in Clyde Township, Michigan
Matthew Gordon
Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
By 1900, wild turkeys had almost entirely disappeared from Michigan. Today, the state has a population of around 200,000 of the birds.

Continuing our look at conservation and restoration efforts paying off: animal species here in Michigan that were threatened – but are now coming back.

Today: the wild turkey!

Al Stewart, a wildlife biologist, upland game bird specialist at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, joined Stateside to discuss how wild turkeys have become the “poster child for the comeback of wild species.”

"By 1900, turkeys were thought to be completely extrapated from Michigan, and extrapated is just a big word meaning they were completely gone from the state," said Stewart.  

Listen above for Stewart’s insight on the species’ existence before European settlers, and how key restoration activities have brought the wild turkey population from zero in 1954 to more than 200,000 today.  

This post was written by Stateside production assistant Gabrielle Horton.

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