Relocated Isle Royale wolves form groups, reduce moose herd

Copper Country

Images taken in late September 2019, from a remote camera show two pups likely born to wolf 014F in spring 2019, Isle Royale National Park. NPS/SUNY-ESF photos.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP/WJMN) — Scientists say gray wolves that were taken to Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park to rebuild its nearly extinct population are forming social groups and staking out territory.

They’re also reducing the overgrown moose herd.

Michigan Technological University researchers released their annual report from the Lake Superior park on Monday.

They have counted 12 live wolves and say two others are missing. The population was 15 last year.

“We can estimate the minimum number of pups born annually from scats collected at den and rendezvous sites, as well as monitor the genetic health of the population through time,” said Mark Romanski, NPS biologist and wolf introduction program coordinator at the park.      

Some of those relocated from the mainland have died, but scientists say those that remain are killing enough moose to halt a population boom that was harming the park’s vegetation.

“We will continue to evaluate reproduction and recruitment of Isle Royale’s wolves using multiple lines of evidence including GPS collar data, remote cameras, DNA from wolf scats, and observations.” noted Dr. Jerry Belant, SUNY- ESF professor assisting the NPS with characterizing the wolf introduction program.

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