Just 9 wolves, one of which is female. It looks bleak-

It’s probably the longest study of wolves in history  (since 1958).  The wolf numbers have been up and down along with the moose they eat many times since then. But now with just one female, it clearly looks like the end of the wolves unless some cross a frozen Lake Superior to the island, which is a national park.  The lake rarely freezes, about once every 20 years and then just briefly.

Even if the lone female wolf  has a litter of all female pups, the genetic bottleneck would almost guarantee weak wolves with many physical problems. They would not last. Many of the wolves already show congenital defects.

Of course, the wolves could easily be restored to this national park by humans after they go extinct. If they are not restored by humans or by natural recolonization, the moose could nearly destroy the island’s vegetation with their unchecked population growth (other than starvation and disease). Here is a detailed story from the Associated Press.

Isle Royale Wolves May Go Extinct.  By John Flesher. AP Environmental Writer. Traverse City, Mich.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

71 Responses to What if the Isle Royale wolves go extinct?

  1. avatar Mike says:

    Isle Royale is Michigan’s largest wilderness by a wide margin and a wonderful place. I think you have to lend a helping hand here and introduce some fresh wolves.

    It’s amazing how the story of Isle Royale single-handedly disproves all the anti-wolfers theories.

    What Isle Royale makes clear, above all else, is that it is not wolves that deplete ungulate herds, but rather overhunting.

    This has to seriously rile the anti-wolfers on every level. For here, in this wilderness island national park, it is not the ungulates that suffer, but the wolves.

    • avatar WM says:

      Mike

      ++For here, in this wilderness island national park, it is not the ungulates that suffer, but the wolves…++

      The wolves suffer because it is a stale gene pool. What is your relevant point?

      • avatar Mike says:

        Why didn’t the wolves wipe out the moose? I thought wolves were these horrible animals that eradicated ungulate herds. Guess not. Guess other factors are in play here, factors that make a loud “pop” and hurl projectiles through the air….

        Throw in a dash of greed, and an entitlement of quasi-animal ownership

    • avatar JEFF E says:

      hmmm. $3 Mike, Michigan has no Moose hunting season. Has not for decades and certainly not in a designated National Park which is what Island Royal is.

      • avatar Mike says:

        It’s “Isle Royale”, Cliché Jeff.

        • avatar JEFF E says:

          Good Mike. we have now established that you can read so there is no excuse.
          Isle Royale has no moose hunting season. Michigan has no moose hunting season;not for decades.
          The only thing going “pop” here is between your ears.

    • avatar ma'iingan says:

      “It’s amazing how the story of Isle Royale single-handedly disproves all the anti-wolfers theories.

      What Isle Royale makes clear, above all else, is that it is not wolves that deplete ungulate herds, but rather overhunting.”

      It does nothing of the sort. The Isle Royale biome is so unique that it is relevant only to itself – no reputable scientist would agree with your statements.

      The hope has always been that we would be able to develop a clear understanding of whether the IR predator/ prey relationship was regulated from the top down, or from the bottom up, and after nearly 55 years of study, all we can say is “we don’t know”.

      The most pronounced population crash for wolves was caused by parvovirus, and the moose population crashes have been caused by weather-related effects – malnutrition in severe winters and tick infestations in the mild years.

      Nothing that has occurred on Isle Royale since 1958 supports your anti-hunting campaign – and as far as introducing “fresh wolves”, why would you do that? Most models that I’ve seen, including some that were run as far back as 1979, ends up with wolves going extinct.

      • avatar Mike says:

        We could apply that logic to many species that environmentalists have saved.

        If the habitat is there, and it’s within our power, then we should allow for such creatures to roam.

        If this was an elk population, we would never hear the end of it. There’d be “save the elk” bumper stickers on every pickup in Montana.

        But here, well, this is just a few wolves out on some island no one goes to. No big deal. Can’t hunt them, right? Meh.

        But you look at the big picture. You look at the shrinking habitat around the country, and you realize we’re supposed to be the better species. Isle Royale is a place where animals can go without being harassed by man—a very rare thing east of the Mississippi. That in and of itself is very important.

        Isle Royale is not a prison sentence for a wolf. It is not Idaho.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        People need to stop relying on their one or two favorite examples to prove their points because cumulative scientific knowledge results from observations in different environments with different mixes of animals (predators and prey) and over time. Isle Royale is just one place, though fortunately over a long period of time. We do keep learning though. The biggest problem is all the folks who know the results before any observations have been made. 😉

      • avatar JB says:

        I think the *fault* here is in how human’s reason. We tend to like simple, yes/no answers to very complicated questions like, are prey species regulated by predators? The truth, is nearly always more complicated because there are so many variables that interact (e.g., availability of food resources, weather/climate, disease, parasites, predators, etc.). So we end up with answers like, ‘given the right suite of conditions, X can impact Y’. Not very satisfying for those who desire simple answers.

        • avatar WM says:

          ++…the fault here is how humans reason++

          Sounds like a caricature version of the way tea party folks look at problems…and their solutions.

          • avatar JB says:

            Indeed. Some recent research actually links low cognitive ability (particularly, abstract thinking) with ideological reasoning. 🙂

          • avatar Daniel Berg says:

            “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” – Isaac Asimov

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

          JB,

          Yes, indeed; and most people don’t like dealing with more than one variable at a time in any matter except maybe those strongly related to their livelihood.

          They also much prefer anecdotes to statistics.

  2. avatar Jeff says:

    It does a better job of demonstrating island bio-regional geograhpy. At least you did state “over”hunting as any true conservationists knows that hunters are the reason we have healthy wildlife populations and secure habitat for all animals. As for Isle Royale’s wolves…it got where is is without human intervention, if you believe in wilderness…avoid human intervention.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      Then you have moose numbers going over 2,000 and mass starvation…. And the hunting community then wants hunting on Isle Royale…

      Despite the grest groundwork that has been done on Isle Royale, there are many that disagree with it. Perhaps a bit too much juxtaposition with what would happen in the NRM states, but the initial studies in term of moose age cohorts represented in wolf kills is still pretty impressive. In a way it dispels the wolves only prey on the weak and sick, but does do a nice job in the %population of the different age cohorts represented by wolf kills. Needless to say, moose <2 and 0lder moose make up greater percentages of kills than those in between.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Isle Royale is, of course, being affected by human activities, especially climate change. We have posted articles in the past how moose are suffering from ticks which have increased because of the warmer springs.

      I understand for the last several days temperatures in the mid-west and eastern United States, including Isle Royale, have been 3-4 standard deviations above the mean for the time of year (assuming no climate change). This will produce an incredible tick infestation.

      It might be that Isle Royale may soon have neither wolves nor moose.

      • avatar Mike says:

        Ticks are having a devastating effect on moose in the Northwoods. This is of course triggered by climate change. I’m working on a project with a couple professors right now involving ticks in the Northwoods and climate change.

      • avatar JB says:

        To Ralph’s point: I just returned from Michigan where it was in the 80s in mid-March (which is unheard of). Spring in the Midwest is more than a month early this year.

    • avatar Mike says:

      ++At least you did state “over”hunting as any true conservationists knows that hunters are the reason we have healthy wildlife populations and secure habitat for all animals. ++

      Hunters created the planet? And on the day Jesus rose, in his hand he gripped a Glock…

      There was outstanding wildlife numbers and habitat well before hunters. It wasn’t until the development of the gun that wildlife numbers started collapsing outside of natural disasters (wolf, lynx, wolverine, grizzly, etc).

      • avatar Alan says:

        Mike, thanks for that vision! I was reading through the comments, as I do whenever I get a chance, and you just gave me this vision of Sylvester Stalone all decked out as Rambo, complete with sweatband, but with a beard and wrapped in a shroud, rising from the dead. Christians and guns. Never got the connection before, but now I do!!

      • avatar JB says:

        Mike:

        The vast majority of large mammalian extinctions predate the advent of the firearm. Though many researchers have suggested that the megafaunal extinctions that occurred between 15,000 and 10,000 years ago were the result of human hunting (with spears, not guns), newer evidence suggests climate shift, caused by extraterrestrial impact, may have played a role.

        In any event: guns don’t cause extinctions, people do. It is convenient that blaming hunters allows you to wash your hands of any role you play, eh?

        http://www.pnas.org/content/104/41/16016.short

        • avatar Mike says:

          ++In any event: guns don’t cause extinctions, people do.++

          Who produces the guns, JB?

          • avatar JB says:

            “Who produces the guns, JB?”

            I’m pretty sure they were invented and produced by mad Doctor Brown around 1985. Then he traveled back in time, killed all the dinosaurs, distributed them to the paleolithic hunters (who used them to cause the megafaunal extinctions), and co-founded (with Moses, aka Charlton Heston) the NRA.

            [Sarcasm off.] Ever admit your wrong, Mike?

      • avatar Jeff says:

        All I was getting at is that hunter conservationists like Teddy Roosevelt and others were responsible for the end of commerical hunting and they are the primary financial supporters of wildlife today. Market hunting, no seasons/quotas, poison etc…did most wildlife in.

      • avatar Jeff says:

        Was there ever a time before hunters?

  3. avatar greg capito says:

    Genetic variation won’t be permanently solved by introducing additional wolves on to Isle Royale. The island’s geographic isolation insures that eventually, populations will inbreed and again decline. That is the “nature” of things. So the question is will we tinker with animal (wolf) populations or for once let nature run its course?

    • avatar jdubya says:

      I would vote to let nature run its course….pushing more wolves on that island is like sticking them in a Skinner box. What is the point?

      • avatar JB says:

        I tend to agree with you jdubya. There just isn’t much space for these animals there, and there is something to be learned in letting this population go extinct. On the other hand, global warming is clearly impacting wolves ability to get on and off the island–so, at least in part, we are the cause of their peril. Do we have an ethical responsibility to intervene when we have played a role in extinction? I think many conservationists would answer, “yes”. Tough questions…

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          As above, if wolves disappear, moose population will climb rapidly (if moose can handle the changes in climate). No wolves, and a hunting lobby will surely push for hunting.

          At least it’s a place where wolves, or for that matter moose are not taken by man. Artificial as it seems to many, wolves need to be there. Big question is bring them in now, or wait until wolves are gone? That female dies, it’s all over, but it’s obvious that the genetic problems, vertebral abnormalities in particular are prevalent. Probably better to begin from scratch.

          • avatar Mike says:

            Just drop off a couple females and get it over with. If you’re going to intervene, intervene. Don’t wait it out until there’s one last wolf on the island, loping around the rock until it dies alone. We’re better than that. I hope.

        • avatar Mike says:

          Isle Royale is 133,000 acres (land). That’s a decent amount of room. About half the size of Rocky Mountain NP, and 132,000 acres are classififed as wilderness. It really is quite a wild place — more so than anything east of the Mississippi other than the BWCAW and perhaps portions of the Adirondacks and the Smokies.

          If this were on the mainland, say in Montana or Wyoming, and these were elk, do you think the response would be, “let ’em go”? I doubt it. We’d be seeing all kinds of crying and whining from outfitters, hunters,etc about how we had to intervene. Which is why, IMHO the wolves should be assisted.

          Strange that we’re getting comments from posters who feel we shouldn’t intervene with nature, yet these same guys go out every fall and “intervene” by spraying lead into a mammal. Ah well, without hypocrisy there is no change, right?

          • avatar JB says:

            “Isle Royale is 133,000 acres (land). That’s a decent amount of room.”

            That’s about 200 miles square. According to the International Wolf Center, the average wolf pack size is about 100 sq. miles in the lower 48 and 300-1000 in Alaska (where there’s lots of wilderness, but less food). So, you’ve got about enough room for two packs. Like I said, not a lot of room.

            “Strange that we’re getting comments from posters who feel we shouldn’t intervene with nature, yet these same guys go out every fall and “intervene” by spraying lead into a mammal.”

            Not sure who you’re talking about, Mike? I haven’t hunted in more than a decade, and if memory serves, Immer doesn’t hunt either.

            Do you know any other tunes?

      • avatar Mike says:

        It’s still better than what the Idaho wolves are dealing with. The wolves of Isle Royale aren’t the only creatue suffering from the effects of inbreeding.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Greg Capito,

      You are absolutely right. That is nature of large animals on relatively small and not very diverse islands.

      No population of moose, wolves, elk, deer, coyotes, or whatever is likely to be permanent on Isle Royale without human intervention.

      And as I pointed out today, with such a warming climate as we have, the national park might not be suitable for wolves and moose (assuming a brand new wolf population) much beyond the short run.

  4. avatar Louise Kane says:

    I would like to hear what Ralph has to say about bringing in other wolves as a means of increasing genetic diversity. there are certainly a good number of wolves in Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming that would like to be relocated if they knew what they were facing again next year.
    I am sure there must be a good deal of reserach on this, can you point me to some.
    Thank you

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      Wolves that at least sometimes prey upon moose would be the number one choice. All but rules out Wisconsin and Michigan wolves. Probably some wolves from Superior National Forest in MN would be best bet.

      • avatar Harley says:

        I think I read somewhere, recently, and my apologies for not remembering where it was, but I read that introducing wolves at this point isn’t being considered. It would only be considered when there were no more wolves left on the island. And then, it would be considered to keep the moose population in check so they don’t eat themselves out of house and home. Though if calculations were correct, moose were there almost 50 years before the wolves found their way over to the island. I’m pretty sure they had their own population rises and crashes without the wolf being there.

        Gotta tell ya, this is the most fascinating study I have had the privilege of following. Maybe it’s because there was a personal attachment to it years ago that initially sparked the interest.

        I too would be interested to read Ralph’s take on the introduction of wolves to the island.

        And yes, this spring has been absolutely bizarre here in the midwest. People think I’m nuts when I say I would rather have the traditional spring time weather. Everything is blooming, allergies are horrible and it just doesn’t feel right at all.

        • avatar Mike says:

          No, it doesn’t feel right. And the animals and people will pay for it with an explosion in ticks.

          Be careful out there and avoid tall grass in the northwoods.

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

          I don’t think new wolves should be brought in, at least not until we see if the moose population is viable given all the warming going on.

          You may have read my comments about the growing tick problem on the island with the warming springtimes and the beleaguered moose.

          • avatar Harley says:

            I remember my friend telling me about finding moose carcasses just covered with tics. I’ve seen pictures too. I shudder to think of how it will be this season.

            • avatar Immer Treue says:

              Remember a Lake County,MN Sherif’s Dept. Officer telling a story about one of his friends on patrol one night and he hit and killed a moose. The thing was the moose came through the windshield and pinned him in. As he was “stuck” under the moose, ticks by the dozens dropped off the moose and onto him, and he could not do a thing about it, until help eventually arrived.

            • avatar Harley says:

              Holy cow, that would be a nightmare on so many levels!

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            Moose can harbor 20-30 thousand ticks. When you consider an estimated 1cc of blood lost to an adult tick, this kind of infestation can require a moose to replace its entire blood supply over the course of the winter.

      • avatar WM says:

        Dr. Mech would know exactly what to suggest, and maybe even get. The ones on Isle Royale are federal wolves because they are on this special type of reserve, a national park.

        The other interesting aspect of Isle Royale, as I understand, is that the earlier remnants of habitation by humans prior to 1940 when it was made a national park, changed the habitat. Logging, copper mining, some homesteading and resorts. So, as the island is reclaimed by nature, is it still good wolf habitat (with its exclusive moose prey base), and will it remain so? Or is more “management” required (some portion/all has been designated wilderness which may prevent some modification).

        Afterall, this is one of those national parks that is heavily managed for people? And it may or may not be managed in the future for new wolves.

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          Not really heavily managed for people other than the Rock Harbor area and a few areas where people can put in boats. It’s also closed down from October to May, so the critters, other than Peterson’s and Vucetich’s aerial surveys for two weeks, are pretty much left alone for half the year.

          Believe me when I backpacked there, you may run into some people on the Greenstone ridge trail, but not on the Minong Trail, you may go a number of days without seeing anyone. Most people activity is restricted to either end of the Isle, in particular the Rock Harbor end.

          Interesting aside, but the times I spent there, at the Windigo side of the Isle, garter snakes were fairly robust (there’s that word again) and typical striped and mottled patterns, but as one moved closer and closer to Rock Harbor, the garter snakes became thinner and darker, until they became skinny, small, and all but melanistic. At least that’s what I recall from a 17 day stay there during late Summer of 89.

          • avatar WM says:

            Immer,

            Regarding your statement: ++Not really heavily managed for people++

            I was mislead by this statement from the Isle Royale NP website:

            ++Did You Know?
            Although the yearly number of visitors to Isle Royale is less than Yellowstone receives in a day, the Island’s per acre backcountry use is the highest of all National Parks in the United States.++

            When was the last time you were there during peak use season, whenever that is?

            • avatar Mike says:

              It’s devoid of people mostly and has the fewest visitor days in the NPS within the continental U.S. It’s one of the most remote parks in the lower 48, and requires a lengthy boat ride to reach.

              It probbaly sees less people in a season than West Yellowstone sees in a day in July.

            • avatar Immer Treue says:

              WM,

              Last trips to IR were the 89 trip for 17 days straddling Labor day, and then Fall of 91 when I took the last Ferry off the Isle. Last night I was there it snowed. About the only thing I heard or saw was moose, all over the place as rut season was just kicking into gear.

              There is/was a heavy concentration of folks on the northeastern end of Isle Royale, where one of the ferry’s puts in at Rock Harbor, with a lot of day hikers. Kayakers and canoeist can get into some of the inland lakes, but there is not much in the way of portages. The Greenstone ridge is the “highway” for backpackers, whereas the Minong Ridge trail a compass and topo map were helpful at times.

              I don’t know if I’ll ever go back there. 50 pounds in a Terraplane does not sound that appealing anymore, as Winter trips skiing and pulling sleds with dogs makes for easier going. Did I mention mosquitoes? I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the mosquitoes anywhere like those on Isle Royale. June, July, through mid August, mosquitoes are absolutely horrible. And I would think those are the more popular months on the Isle.

              I think without wolves, Isle Royale will have less mystique. They’re there and you know it, but the vegetation is so dense, one has to be lucky to see one there. So most folks are satisfied seeing wolf tracks and their scat. I think I spent ~ 60 days total on IR and saw a wolf once.

              And then there is the Hydatid tapeworm. I’m sure someone will come to my rescue if I am wrong, but the 100’s of thousands who have visited Isle Royale over the years, nobody has become “infected” with them.

              So, WM, in a long winded version, its been a while since my last visit to the Isle, but the farther “in” one goes, you just don’t see that many people,

            • avatar WM says:

              Immer, Mike,

              Thanks for the descriptions, not having been there, I presumed, incorrectly, more folks there for more of the year, and that use had likely increased over time. Apparently, not.

  5. avatar Alan says:

    If nothing else this clearly demonstrates why genetic connectivity is so important in the NR; not only for wolves, but grizzlies as well.
    This is a difficult choice if man caused global warming is responsible for eliminating past connection with the mainland. I guess I would lean toward wait and see. Nature is resilient; you never know. Another question would be, what if something happened to the lone female and nothing but males remained? Do you step in at that point or wait until there were no wolves left, perhaps many years?

  6. avatar Wolfy says:

    A couple points to consider: Moose on the tiny Isle Royale Park number around 2,000 animals. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan only 50 miles away and has about 4 million acres, can’t keep over 800 moose alive. The main difference between the two areas is the number of animals lost to human causes (vehicles, poaching, etc.), competition with overabundant deer, and habitat degradation. In fact, most of the moose in the Upper Peninsula are in areas with few or no wolves. I think the study is more about the human influence (or lack of) on the moose population than the natural predator-prey dynamic.

    • avatar Harley says:

      One thing I’m kinda curious about is the genetic viability of the moose. They have done some study on the wolves but the moose are also pulling from a contained gene pool. Are the moose on Isle Royale smaller than those on the mainland?

    • avatar Mike says:

      Good points. Habitat degradation is really the key issue for the U.P. moose.

      The road densities surrounding the release area are freakish. There are clear-cuts that give the impression of an alien landscape to the northeast of the release point. That said, the area is the most rugged in the U.P.

      The combination of an 18,000 acre wilderness and a large tract of private wilderness have made a nice little habitat zone. There are wolves here. In fact this was one of the places for the original failed Michigan wolf reintroduction in 1974. This is close to the moose release point in 1985 and 1987. This is the wild core of Michigan. The terrain is quite surprising for the Midwest.

      I hiked and explored this country as a youth until my twenties, recording and tracking roadless areas, or what remained.

      I was thrilled to see both wolves and moose, and it was cool to see one of the reintroduced moose walking down a pristine beach along Lake Superior one fall. Some say there were always a few moose in the area before reintroduction. Maybe. But surrounding the Huron Country/McCormick Country is a plethora of white-tailed deer and roads that really hurt the moose population.

      It;s ahrd to say how poaching has hurt the moose population. They’re hard to find in the brush, and in the more remote areas.

    • avatar JEFF E says:

      I belive there are~500 moose currently on the island.

  7. avatar Alan says:

    Maybe one of those black government helicopters will swoop in in the middle of the night and drop off some wolves?!
    Naa! No ranches or hunting there, so there’s no need to do that!

  8. avatar aves says:

    I would let nature takes it’s course. Even before climate change was reducing the ice cover of the Great Lakes moose still didn’t make it there until the early 20th century and wolves not for another 50 years later. It never has been nor will ever be an essential or ideal place for wolves or moose. Less ice cover due to climate change shouldn’t force our intervention if wolves weren’t there prior to the late 1940s. No matter how much manipulation we humans provide nothing will change the fact that Isle Royale is an island.

    It’s interesting that the world’s premier wolf expert Dr. Mech, who is independent of the project, says don’t bring in more wolves. While Peterson and Vucetich, who run the project, insist wolves have to be brought in. I don’t question their integrity but it would be naive to think P & V are not biased. A moose/forest study would not bring as much excitement, employment, funding, and writing gigs for the New York Times.

    Though they are not certain, the possibilities of wide scale starvation or hunting of moose in a National Park are not pleasant. But if the doomsday scenarios for moose come to pass how is it any better to trap wolves from somewhere else, throw radio collars on them, fly them to an island, follow them around, and repeat the process over and over again while pretending it’s all natural?

  9. avatar Doryfun says:

    To be, or not to be.

    When considering wilderness or roadless areas and how much of the landscape/bioshere management should be left to its own device, or manipulated by man, and to what extent, if any, becomes the 64 million dollar question? Ride in and rescue or stand by and observe?

    Trust levels is what fighting over natural resources often gets boiled down to (who gets to use it, when, and how, and who doesn’t). What is ethical?

    Based on the large and fast number of responses this endangered status potential extinction has elicited, it seems a lot of people do care what happens. More seem to want intervention than not?

    Often people get mired down questioning what is natural or not, as some sort of criteria to be used for determining what we should do to nature. I think it is a mistake to believe there is a natural world and an un-natural one. By virtue of the evidence of mass (anything in nature) , does mass (everything in nature) exist. Therefore, man made or managed environments vs those that are not manipulated by man, (at least on purpose – aside from things like climate change) might be the better viewpoint in trying to determine what to do?

    Relativity anyone? If the Isle Royal wolves were the only ones left on the planet, then that most likely would warrant a different set of actions than the fact that these kind of wolves are not endangered and doing fine in other areas. Thus, offering a broader range of choices. It seems to me, if we wish to let nature run her course, then we must accept extinction, or at least admit our hypocritic ways and do like politicians, wipe the slate and start again. However, with more wolves in other areas, in the real world, we have more options. Perhaps it would be more fitting to maintain our alignment with truth (keeping our word and not micro manage) and let this batch of wolves go by natures way and thus live with the consequences of our standing aside.

    Food for thought.

  10. avatar mikarooni says:

    Don’t everyone yell at me at once; but, Isle Royale is such a small, closed, special case that the wolves there truly don’t matter, except as a cautionary example of the need to maintain a large enough genetic pool in other wolf populations to avoid the same tragic end. Isle Royale is a nice place; but, in a large mammal conservation context, it is and can be nothing more than a warning about the dangers of culling or constraining populations down below their genetic viability threshold, which is what Idaho actually intends to do.

  11. avatar SEAK Mossback says:

    I think if it is managed truly according to its land designation (NPS wilderness) no new wolves will be brought in. National Parks under modern definition are basically outdoor museums in which to observe “natural” (non-human) processes with minimal interference (wolf reintroduction to YNP could be justified based on correcting prior interference). Were it not for that designation, many other options could be on the table, according to human desires ranging all the way from seeing an invigorated wolf population restored to managing for moose hunting to using it as an experimental laboratory (the past 50 years revealed a lot about how wolves and moose interact in a single predator-single prey system — how about introducing grizzlies along with wolves next time, or experimenting with methods of controlling ticks?). It is true that human influence on climate is an influence from which the parks cannot be individually protected, but I think the policy is basically hands-off to the extent possible. I do hope the research continues, to document whatever changes come.

  12. avatar Harley says:

    Sharing an Email I received today.

    Greetings, Friends!

    Our project was selected by PETRIDISH.org to help raise funds for research.

    http://www.petridish.org/projects/the-wolves-of-isle-royale

    A great video created by George Desort explains the project. Please help spread the word by sending the web link to others. We hope to make many new friends!

    Thanks,
    Leah Vucetich

  13. avatar ma'iingan says:

    Whoops, I see Harley beat me to it. Sorry for the redundant post.

  14. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2012/june/story70266.html
    A Mystery Solved: 3 Wolves Drowned in Old Mine Shaft at Isle Royale National Park

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