Wolves may disappear from Isle Royale

arctic_wolfWolves are in danger of disappearing from Isle Royale according to a study released this week.

The study links warmer weather and the lack of ice bridges to the declining wolf population.

Rolf Peterson is one of the co-authors on the study. He said only two wolves remain.

“You know over the last fifty years you’d have ice bridges in 8 out of ten years. Now we’ve had three ice bridges in the last 17.”

For a wolf population that needs a regular inflow of new wolves, that isn’t good news. The remaining wolves have become heavily interbred.

And that could be a problem for more than just wolves.

Peterson said the decrease in wolves has meant a boom in moose populations.

“This time if moose increase dramatically they will take some of the forest tree species with them.”

Peterson said in a small ecosystem like Isle Royale, a few changes can wreak havoc.

The National Park Service is now taking public comment about whether or not to bring more wolves to the island. You can find a link to the comment page here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=140&projectID=59316&documentID=71605