Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Wolves of Isle Royale Face Extinction

Rolf Peterson of Michigan Tech University was the lead biologist on Isle Royale for decades. In this photo, Peterson gives WCC educators an opportunity to help process an elk that was taken down by Yellowstone wolves.

The number of wolves that call Lake Superior’s Isle Royale home has dwindled to just 16 with only two breeding females. Scientists fear that this limited population may not be sustainable much longer.

Isle Royale, a U.S. National Park, is primarily a wilderness area and it's been a wonderful outdoor laboratory for many decades. It’s a nearly controlled natural environment because the wolf is the only large predator and moose is their sole source of food. The predator-prey relationship on the island has been the focus of scientific study for over 50 years, the longest wild wolf study in U.S. history.

To learn more about Isle Royale and this unique popultion of wolves, please visit The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale website.

6 comments:

Michael said...

Unfortunately it's a study only for predator-prey relationship between wolves and moose. Now (not till now?), about sixty years after the immigration of a wolf pair into the island, the consequence of incest becomes the power over wolves. It seems, no other wolves came in from mainland. Did wolves travel from island to the mainland?
Normally (in the open wild) wolves have a natural protection/aversion against incest. Therefore we shouldn't hinder wolves from traveling. This could be a problem for Mexican Wolves: they have a large country, but with virtual (human made) borders.

Michael said...

It's a study only for predator-prey relationship between wolves and moose: for a special study we try to minimize the variation of side conditions. This was given on the island. Now (not till now?), about sixty years after the immigration of a wolf pair into the island, the consequence of incest becomes the power over wolves. It seems no other wolves came in from mainland. Did wolves travel from island to the mainland?

Normally (in the open wild) wolves have a natural protection/aversion against incest. Therefore we shouldn't hinder wolves from traveling. This could be a problem for Mexican Wolves: they have a large country, but with virtual (human made) borders.

Michael said...

It's a study only for predator-prey relationship between wolves and moose: for a special study we try to minimize the variation of side conditions. This was given on the island. Now (not till now?), about sixty years after the immigration of a wolf pair into the island, the consequence of inbreeding becomes the power over wolves. It seems no other wolves came in from mainland. Did wolves travel from island to the mainland?

Normally (in the open wild) wolves have a natural protection/aversion against inbreeding. Therefore we shouldn't hinder wolves from traveling. This could be a problem for Mexican Wolves: they have a large country, but with virtual (human made) borders.

Michael said...

Correction:
The facebook side "Mexican gray wolves" gives a link to a very interesting article on www.redorbit.com:
http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/2022616/
poop_reveals_immigrant_in_isle_royale_
wolves_gene_pool/index.html?source=r_science

Yeah, I should suppress my desire to use the word "only" :)

George Desort said...

Check out the movie
Fortunate Wilderness, the wolf and moose study of Isle Royale.
www.fortunatewilderness.com
George Desort

Michael said...

Thanks for the hint, George!
So I found your facebook side "Fortunate Wilderness, ..." and there the link to the Nest Cam of the Decorah Eagles, which is now on air (124 -130 thousand viewers). The third baby is hatching now.
I'm living in Europe, but maybe I will find the movie at the WCC store, if I will com into the States once more (I hope).