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Are Isle Royale’s new wolves pairing up? GPS trackers could spell l-o-v-e

Apr 23, 2019 10:37AM ● By Editor

In this Feb. 28, 2019 file photo provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the U.S. National Park Service and the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation, a white wolf is released onto Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. (Daniel Conjanu/The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation via AP, File)

By Tanda Gmiter | [email protected] - April 23, 2019

Bringing in a diverse mix of healthy wolves to Michigan’s Isle Royale was only part of the equation when the National Park Service set out to increase the remote island’s tiny predator population last year.

With the first batch of new wolves now sniffing around their Michigan home, scientists have their eyes on another big piece of the effort: How soon will Isle Royale see its first wolf pups?

Part of that answer might already have show up in front of their eyes, in the form of GPS tracking maps detailing all the new wolves’ movements.

The tracking collars show at least two cases of new male wolves that were captured on Canada’s Ontario mainland and Michipicoten Island spending time with new female wolves brought over from Minnesota. Just consider it a little friendly, international relations.

National Park staff described the possible pairings this way:

"As the resource management team has been tracking the new wolves, it’s been interesting to see where they go, and with whom. We can’t be certain of anything yet, but here is what we know:

"The Michipicoten alpha male 009, released in February, headed to the east end of the island into the territory of the two original wolves, finding Minnesota female 001 for several days. Shortly before that time, Minnesota female 001 was running with Minnesota female 004.

“Minnesota female 004 has been all over, but mostly around Siskiwit Bay where she was released. She and Ontario black male 006, released in February, bedded down together for a few nights.”

Mating season for these gray wolves can run from January to April. A wolf pregnancy typically lasts nine to 11 weeks, with pups born in the summer.

“Time will tell if these short meetings will bring wolf pup prints to the island trails once again,” park staff said in a Facebook post updating fans on the possible predator hanky-panky.

To read more of the original story and see related reporting, follow this link to the website.

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