Wolf Crosses the Lake Superior Ice to Become Leader of the Pack

Isle Royale wolves get a tiny bit of genetic renewal-

Wolf Crosses the Lake Superior Ice to Become Leader of the Pack. By Nicholas Bakolar. New York Times.

Poop Reveals an Immigrant in Isle Royale Wolves’ Gene Pool

The population of wolves on Isle Royale was formed when a pair of wolves crossed frozen Lake Superior in 1949 from Canada. Since 1958, one of the most important and longest studies of wolf/moose interactions has taken place there. The wolves and moose have fluctuated up and down due to many causes such as tick infestations, genetic inbreeding and fluctuations of forage for moose and prey for wolves. These interactions are seen as a microcosm of wolf prey interactions and demonstrate the many influences on populations.

In the course of this study researchers have found that another male wolf crossed the frozen lake and joined the population. His genes are now represented in 56%, or 9 wolves, of the population of 16 now present on the island.

Besides genetic inbreeding, there is another issue which could eliminate wolves from the island and that is the possible loss of the two remaining female wolves. That has prompted a proposal to bring a few new wolves from the mainland to supplement the population’s genetics and increase their fitness. This runs counter to the National Park Service’s policy to allow natural processes to take place so there will surely be debate about this in the future.

Isleroyalewolf.org has an interesting graph showing the historical wolf and moose population fluctuations that you can see here: http://vicksta.com/wolf%20and%20moose%20graph7.html

Poop Reveals an Immigrant in Isle Royale Wolves’ Gene Pool
Michigan Tech News.

Wolf count down at Isle Royale, moose hold steady

2 of the 4 wolf packs have disappeared and the overall population has dropped from 24 to 19 wolves

The interactions of wolves and moose on Isle Royale National Park have been studied for decades. In recent years the wolves, due to their low genetic diversity, have exhibited malformed vertebra and other deformities related to genetic inbreeding but they have persisted on the island.

Wolf count down at Isle Royale, moose hold steady.
By JOHN FLESHER – The Chippewa Herald

Inbreeding taking toll on the wolves of Isle Royale

Crippling effects of inbreeding show the problem with natural wolf recovery based on a few wolves-

A fair number of people think that wolf restoration should be “natural,” — based solely in the in-migration of 2 to a dozen or so wolves, but there is not enough genetic variety in a small number for such a population to survive over time. The situation in Isle Royale shows this.

Story in Newsweek. Inbreeding taking toll on Michigan wolves. Scientists find bone deformities in wolves on island in Lake Superior, caused by inbreeding. By John Flesher. Associated Press Writer | AP

The Wolf and the Moose: Natural Enemies That Need Each Other

The Wolf and the Moose: Natural Enemies That Need Each Other. Scientific American. By Adam Hadhazy.

This is about the 50-year study of moose and wolves on Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. The wolves have not wiped out the moose despite the island being a very simple ecosystem, and in fact should the wolves perish, the moose population will be destroyed by overpopulation.

External environmental effects are creeping onto Isle Royale, and I would not be surprised if these two species do vanish in the near future.

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