Photos and video reveal recently translocated wolves of Isle Royale [video]
During a presentation at the International Wolf Symposium in Minneapolis last weekend, Shannon Barber-Meyer shared some recent images from the new wolves of Isle Royale National Park.
Barber-Meyer, a research wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, spoke last Saturday morning during a group panel discussion focusing on the Isle Royale wolf reintroduction. Outdoor News reported last month on the reintroduction, but the panel offered some new information during the symposium.
Researchers working on the project placed trail cameras over moose carcasses near the release sites, and the cameras captured images and video of the new canine residents. Ely-based Barber-Meyer explained that, to date, project workers have released four wolves – three females and one male – from different packs on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation. A fifth wolf died in a holding facility before it could be moved. A necropsy to determine its cause of death is ongoing at the University of Minnesota.
There were plans to move two Michigan Upper Peninsula animals to Isle Royale, but autumn’s gale-force winds on the lake last week shut down those transport plans for 2018. It’s possible that organizers may move some wolves from Ontario’s Michipicoten Island (also on Lake Superior) later this winter.
Michipicoten Island has wolves to spare since there are no caribou left (see my print column this week for more details on that story), and the remaining key food source on Michipicoten – beavers – will be inaccessible soon after ice-up.
Per other recent news reports, the National Park Service intends to release a total of up to 30 wolves into the park during the next three to five years. Two other wolves remain in the park – the last survivors of a population that had all but died off because of inbreeding and other factors. Facing little predation, the moose population on Isle Royale has expanded to about 1,500 animals, well above the long-term average of around 1,000.
I backpacked the national park back in 1994, the last time the moose were peaking, and their damaging impact to the vegetation was visible even to my untrained eye. In my opinion, something needs to control moose numbers on the island to prevent that from happening.
The 207-square-mile Isle Royale, though part of the state of Michigan, is located about 15 miles off the tip of northeastern Minnesota and Ontario.
Outdoor News has posted some of the recent images below.