Skip to comments.Scientists say Isle Royale wolves may need bailout as extinction threat rises
Posted on 03/16/2012 4:00:40 PM PDT by SJackson
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. Isle Royale National Parks gray wolves, one of the worlds most closely monitored predator populations, are at their lowest ebb in more than a half-century and could die out within a few years, scientists said Friday.
Only nine wolves still wander the wilderness island chain in western Lake Superior and just one is known to be a female, raising doubts theyll bounce back from a recent free-fall unless people lend a hand, Michigan Tech University wildlife biologists Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich said in a report obtained by The Associated Press. There were 24 wolves roughly their long-term average number as recently as 2009.
The wolves are at grave risk of extinction, Vucetich said in an interview.
Their crash apparently results from a run of bad luck rather than a single catastrophe. A shortage of females has cut the birth rate, while breakdown of several packs boosted inbreeding and weakened the gene pool. Other troubles include disease and starvation from a drop-off of moose, the wolves primary food source.
Their population is the smallest since biologists began observing their interactions with moose in 1958, beginning what became the worlds longest-running study of predators and prey in a single ecosystem, Vucetich said. Previously, the closest they came to extinction was during a parvovirus outbreak in the 1980s when their numbers plummeted from 50 to 12.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
The ecosystem would function just fine without wolves.
I wonder how many times they’ve died out on the island only to return later. After all, its an island but it’s an island that often finds itself surrounded by ice.
A bailout? The wolves must have lobbyists.
It's a wonderful place. I remember when the population dropped due to parvo. The wolves came back.
The place is a wonderful labratory, and I'd be fine with introducing a few wolves to keep things going, though the critters might surprise us and survive on their own. It was a coyote/deer habitat during my lifetime, so I'm not sure there's much damage if they don't survive, other than to the scientific and tourism communities. But I'd help them out.
It's a UN World Heritage site I believe, and when the UN was formed in many of our lifetimes, no wolves on Isle Royale. Go figure.
Nature has the unique ability of taking care of its own and right now the wolf is on the "B" list......
The ice passage isn’t there that often, only a couple times the last half century. Which gives them lots of opportunities as these things go, if you’re a scientist studying them, or attempting tourism to the park (which is wonderful), it’s a big problem. Not that that enters anyones mind other than mine.
'He gutted it and dragged it into town to have it weighed and measured; it was 182 pounds even after gutting, and measured seven feet, 11 inches tall when measured hanging vertically. The creature stood 39 inches at the shoulder! It was considered such a magnificent specimen that the carcass was sent to the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh where it was mounted and displayed. '
It's kind of an artificial enviornment, but not one where species developed, one where the showed up. And have probably been "showing up" for millenia, but no one noticed. It's been explained to me that it was a deer-coyote place. The moose showed up a century or so ago, out browsed the deer who can't reach as high as moose. Weakening the deer herd, as well as the coyotes. An invitation for the wolves, who dispatched the deer and the coyotes, and are now stuck living off the really big guys, in front of the tourists and scientists.
It's a wild place, but also artificial. I'd import some wolves and keep the 60 year old experiment going, referring to this as an "extinction", or some sort of a natural wolf enviornment, is absurd.
Didn’t address your inbreeding/females comment, but it’s really a tiny population. That’s kind of a given. I don’t know why that would surprise anyone, especially scientists.
Last week here on FR was a thread on killing wolves out west because of overpopulation.
Don’t any of these wolf people talk to each other?
You’re wrong about that.
The wolves could die out on the island.
The Moose population explodes over the next 50 years.
In 75 years a pack of mainland wolves track Moose that had ventured out onto the ice between the mainland and the island to the island.
In 100 years Americans are again saying that the large wolf population on the island are the reason Moose are disappearing from the island.....
We'll have to agree to disagree over this.
"Artificial" is the key. Kinda like an aquarium.......
Scroll down for the list of extirpated species.
Does Isle Royale qualify for a MIping?
If that's the case, then is there anything to be concerned about if they are facing extinction? Do they really belong there anyway?
I suspect that wolves have come and gone from the island many times over the last 12,000 years.
My Isle Royal map is fly pecked and yellowed but I still have hopes of a backpack trip there. Since my hiking buddies are in their mid 70’s it is looking less than likely
Yes, it's been designated an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations. And it's a tourist attraction. Because of the wolves. And just because there were no wolves there when I and lots of other freepers were born doesn't mean we can't freak out about the demise of the Canadian wolves.
Sarcasm aside, I think they should boost the wold population. Horrors, maybe issue some moose permits which will never happen. It's an artificial population as we maintain it, but still valuable.
It’s a wonderful place. The ridge trail down the center of the island has minimal elevation gain and is well maintained. I don’t recall just where they are, but if you get a current map, the ferry that circles the island allows for shorter hikes. Besides, they have a hotel, and some campgrounds only a couple miles from the hotel with screened in shelters so you don’t need to bring a tent.
I know of no animal which produces pelts of that quality.
My goodness, I didn't know that.
Let's halt the presses and pull out all the stops, folks. The U.N. says it's an important place to protect!
Yes, I have been on Isle Royale a couple of times over forty years ago and a couple of my cousins used to work on the island. I haven’t been to Lake Siskiwit but met people who went to Ryan Island. Not much there. Sure it’s beautiful, but so is the rest of the island and you don’t have to portage a canoe over Isle Royale trails to see most of it.
I figured since it is on your graphic...
A couple of facts.
First, wolves were never part of Isle Royale. You can check the historical record of the Isle Royale Mining Co. back in the 19th century, and there’s no mention of wolves.
The wolves wandered across Lake Superior from Canada in the 1930s when the lake froze.
Second, that idiot Rolf Peterson has been milking this situation for grants for 30 years. The idiot can’t tell a wolf cast print from a dog print. How do I know that? Because I asked.
Peterson’s gears are slipping and have been for years.
Isle Royale is a vacation lodge for liberal idiots like Peterson and other leftist researchers who want to keep ordinary people off their Island paradise.
We fought these simpleton c&ck s###kers back in the 1990’s when these national park Nazis tried to ban boats from Isle Royale. We won, but it cost us $600,000 in attorney’s fees. And the fat-ass liberal judge refused to make the federal pigs pay our expenses.
I and other good people have spent time on Isle Royale and know the political background. What the federal fascist pigs did to original property owners on the island is criminal.
I can tell that story, too.
Have you hiked it? I haven't been there in decades so I can't speak on how well maintained it is, but some boy scouts we met said the hike to Mt Franklin was the toughest they had ever hiked, including the Cumberland Gap. It's not the absolute elevation gain but the elevation gain and loss and gain and loss... That island is like a washboard.
Michigan has a crapload of islands.
Here’s a link for those who wish to explore more about boaters and the Nazi pigs in the NPS:
We are dealing with thieving federal pigs.
Lock and load, people.
Isle Royale is actually very close to Grand Marais, Minnesota. The island is part of Michigan because it belonged to the USA and Michigan became a state many many years before Minnesota (1858).
Just a bit of geography.
You sure can see where the ice scoured that island.
I remember learning about the moose and wolves crossing the ice to Isle Royale when I was in school...it was in a science lesson about the life cycle of the tapeworm...don’t eat the moose, don’t eat the wolves, and don’t drink the water on Isle Royale...
A big ten-four! Follow the money; the NPS “naturalists” have long proclaimed the natural environment of this unnatural wolf population as an ideal predator/prey relationship, which of course it isn’t. I say let nature take its course and let these wolves die out until some time in the future when they migrate back. After all, a new global cooling period is now expected, eh?
Well, well...... things are looking up.
“While they try to blame the decline of the wolves on inbreeding and lack of females, I suspect the real reason is they’ve over predated their food sources.”....
I agree with your suspicions and offer a bit more proof. I live next to a Fed Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin where wolves were introduced some years back. Prior to that re-introduction, the deer and small game populations were excellent but not any longer. In a WI DNR deer population study by areas surrounding the refuge showed the following:
Deer per sqaure mile
Area 9 = 1.2 deer per square mile
Areas immediately surroudning area 9 = 2.4 deer per square mile.
Areas beyond 4.9 per dquare mile.
All I can say is I am happy to see the about to be implemented wolf management hunting season upcoming.
Thanks, I’ve wondered about that.
And thus ends the briefest flame-war in Internet history.
lets talk about isle royale for a moment... the econazi’s have not allowed hunting forever... lets run the scenario... wolves reproduce until there are more wolves than game to hunt... there is not enough food, so the remaining elk, deer, squirrels, turkey, etc.. are hunted by the wolves to near extinction... subsequently, the wolves begin to die from starvation.... sounds like a natural cycle, and as the wolves die off, the game species will multiply, and as they multiply, the wolves will multiply until it reaches a tipping point again... the only thing missing is the top of the food chain... man.. let us hunt on this here island, and most, if not all, of the problems will disappear..
I’m not a biologist. As I understand it the moose, once they got there, drove out the deer who couldn’t reach as high when browsing. The wolves knocked off the coyotes. As I understand it the wolves get an unnatural amount of protein from the moose, due to the lack of smaller critters to eat. My uneducated opinion, you’re probably on to something, a moose hunt would make sense. Large enough to allow a deer/coyote culture to thrive, which would give the wolves something to eat. They don’t seem to like tourists.
First of all for so called research to have any value at all it has to refrain from manipulating the outcomes. A “reintroduction” of wolves would be an entirely different experiment on it’s own, and tell us nothing about the natural process. It would serve to enrich the so called “researchers”.
Now it is down to 9?? Between 2009 and 2012 (3 years) the population dropped by 15 wolves? Something is wrong in this study!!!