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 ...
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!!!