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National Park Service Debating Wolf Reintroduction on Isle Royale

posted Jan 26, 2018, 2:46 PM by chloe owens

11/12/17, by Randy Meier, Fox9 News

National Park Service debating wolf reintroduction on Isle Royale

…Ice bridges during the cold winter months enabled the first grey wolves to find the island 75 years ago, and they stayed, because they found food in the moose population…Then, the ice bridges stopped forming, and the wolves, after peaking at a population of 50, started dying. Canine Parvovirus took many, while wolves killing other wolves took some. They died at an alarming rate. Conversely, the moose, with fewer canines to hunt them down, grew in numbers of an equally alarming pace. Today, more than 1600 moose roam the island. Now, with only two aging and non-breeding wolves left to hunt them, the National Park Service is wrestling with whether man should step in and change the course of nature. The NPS is also struggling with the relative "do not touch" scientific philosophy of Isle Royale and what re-introducing a new pack of wolves, taken from the mainland, and deposited on the island, would mean…Peterson has spent 50 years of his life studying the predator/prey balance, and says the dynamic has clearly changed. The moose population is trending up rapidly and, in his view, doing nothing would be disastrous for the ecosystem…The NPS this week signaled there does seem to be movement, not only toward a decision, but also toward reintroducing wolves. Officially releasing this statement: "NPS is currently producing a final environmental impact statement with a preferred alternative to re-introduce wolves to the island.  This alternative would provide a large enough number of wolves with the goal of establishing a healthy population that functions as an apex predator. A decision is expected after the document is released for public view."