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Urgent effort to rescue wolves from Michipicoten Island

Mar 22, 2019 06:57AM ● By Editor
Photo:  Michigan Tech

By Ronnie Das of WLNS-TV - March 21, 2019

An urgent effort is underway to move four to six wolves to Isle Royale National Park over the next four days.

It is estimated that the four-day effort, which will begin either Friday, March 22nd or Saturday, March 23rd, will cost $100,000. The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation raised $30,000 and the International Wolf Center raised an additional $45,000. The organizations have started a GoFundMepage to raise the final $25,000.

"As we discussed this project, we found many people who supported seeing the forests of Isle Royale remaining healthy,” Sona Mehring, the chair of the The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation said. “We are close to realizing the goal of providing another capture opportunity to move these iconic wolves to an island that needs them in its ecosystem.”

Four to six wolves remain on Michipicoten Island are at risk after their only available winter prey on the island, caribou, are gone.

“We’re especially proud of the fact that the International Wolf Center is helping to save the lives of a small pack of wolves on Michipicoten Island,” said the Center’s Executive Director Rob Schultz. “Since all of the caribou have been removed from Michipicoten, there’s nothing left for the wolves there to eat this winter and there is a real threat of starvation.”

The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation and the International Wolf Center agree the wolves would have an immediate impact on the rapidly growing moose population on Isle Royale. An estimate of more that 1,600 moose are threatening the ecosystem. Science has long showed that wolves play an important role in nature, moving them can manage populations.

"On Michipicoten, nature's lessons can be cruel and starvation is one of them,” said Mehring. “For the remaining wolves on Michipicoten, that will be their fate unless we help move them to Isle Royale National Park, where their hunting skills and genetics can add value to establishing a new population of wolves on Isle Royale.”

Two wolves were moved earlier this year and officials had hoped to move all of the wolves, but poor weather as well as government shutdowns and a lack of funding delayed that effort.

“Since the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, we’ve seen first-hand the positive impact wolves have on ecosystems,” Schultz said. “A thriving wolf population in Isle Royale’s ecosystem will make a similar impact. If left unchecked, moose would over-consume the island’s vegetation. Apex predators, like wolves, are important components of any healthy, natural ecosystems."

To read the original article and see related reporting, follow this link to the WLNS News website.
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