Isle Royale National Park
The gray wolves of Isle Royale National Park are on the verge of disappearing.
Michigan is home to some of the nation’s best national parks, including one right near Detroit.
“The wolves are struggling…There’s definitely a chance they might not last much longer.”
A gray wolf that fled Isle Royale National Park across a Lake Superior ice bridge and was found dead on the mainland had been shot with a pellet from an air gun, officials said Friday.
The loss is a blow to an already struggling wolf population at Isle Royale National Park, which has fallen sharply in recent years.
“This is going to help define what we think the word ‘conservation’ means during an era of tremendous global change,” said John Vucetich of Michigan Technological University.
No pups were apparently born to the wolf population on Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior in 2012, according to researchers at Michigan Technological University, which has been studying the interaction between the island park’s wolves and moose for 55 years. Since wolves live only about five years in the wild, that means the island’s wolf population may soon be gone.
During their 2012 Winter Study, Michigan Technological University population biologist John Vucetich and wildlife ecologist Rolf Peterson started wondering where the wolves of Isle Royale National Park had gone. Now they know — for at least three of them.
The number of wolves at Isle Royale National Park has dipped to nine — the lowest number seen since Michigan Technological University’s wolf-moose predator-prey study began 54 years ago. What should be done if this furry icon of wilderness culture dies out altogether?
Scientists say the wolves of Isle Royale National Park may go extinct because they are dangerously short of females.