Should wolves be brought to Isle Royale?

It’s a question that is currently being debated. There is a contingency of people who want to continue to study the relationship of moose and wolves on the island. The study has been ongoing since 1958 and researchers would like to see it continue. They fear the moose will over browse on the island.  And why is that a problem?

The moose population is around 1300 animals and if there isn’t another predator on the island the population will increase. The population has reached almost 2500 moose in the past.  When the moose run out of food to eat some will starve and their numbers will decline until the population reaches a sustainable number.

Wolves haven’t always been on Isle Royale and their population has varied over the years. Climate hasn’t been the only reason the wolf population has suffered in the past as disease and inbreeding are to blame for some of the decline. There have been recent winters when an ice bridge has formed from the mainland but no wolves took advantage of it so the population has been reduced to 1 or 2 wolves.

What happens if wolves are brought to the island and their population explodes because of fresh genes and big litters of pups? Will the wolves decimate the population like they did the caribou on other island in Lake Superior?

It’s a unique situation and you can read more about the study at this website.

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