(CBS DETROIT) – The Kirtland’s warbler will replace the elk on Michigan’s wildlife habitat license plate starting in January.

New wildlife habitat license plate featuring Kirtland’s warbler. | Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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For the last four years, the elk has been on the license plate. In December 2017, the Michigan Department of Natural resources announced that the elk would be featured on the license plate to celebrate 100 years of elk being in the state of Michigan.

The Kirtland’s warbler was chosen as the next species to celebrate the bird’s recovery. In 2019 the bird was removed from the endangered species list.

The efforts of the Michigan DNR and other partners have helped ensure that nesting habitat is available to the birds. Kirtland’s warblers nest only in young jack pine stands in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario.

“The successful recovery of the Kirtland’s warbler is reason to celebrate,” said Jared Duquette, chief of the DNR Wildlife Division. “We hope highlighting the Kirtland’s warbler will encourage continued funding for conservation efforts of Michigan’s threatened and endangered species.”

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The proceeds made from the wildlife habitat license plate sales go to the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund, which benefits nongame species like the warbler.

In 2006 the loon was the first species featured on the license plate, and since then, over $3.9 million for the fund.

The license plate can be purchased through the Secretary of State for $35, and $25 of this will go to the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund.

Individuals who would like to purchase a license plate with the elk on it before it is gone can do so throughout the month of December.

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