The National Park Service has begun an internal review of the wolf population and wildlife dynamics on Isle Royale. The NPS has developed a plan to move forward with identifying options and evaluating the implications of intervention.
The actions follow in response to Michigan Technological University studies, headed by wolf specialist Dr. Rolf Peterson.
According to Isle Royale Superintendent Phyllis Green, the results of the 54th annual winter study at Isle Royale National Park show that the wolf population is at the lowest level since the study began.
Green said, “We are very concerned about current wolf population demographics and trends, and intend to discuss and analyze these dynamics as part of the broader ecosystem and context of change on the island”. She added, “ We look forward to updated information from the MTU researchers, and as we move forward in resolving this issue, the long term science will be invaluable.”
The MTU study shows nine wolves remaining on Isle Royale, down from 16 animals a year ago, including only one known female.
An interdisciplinary group of park service wildlife biologists, wilderness specialists, and natural resources experts met last month to discuss the declining wolf population issue and reached an agreement on how to move forward. Planning will take into account a variety of factors, including climate change, species interactions, and ecosystem dynamics.
Click on Audio mp3 above to hear a March 22 interview with Dr. Rolf Peterson of Michigan Technological University. Peterson has been researching wolves and moose on Isle Royale for more than four decades and he spoke recently with WTIP volunteer Veronica Weadock.