Hungry wolves may get new home at Isle Royale National Park | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Hungry wolves may get new home at Isle Royale National Park

Associated Press
917337_web1_917337-408114a995f04ddfbf874dfc4b3059c0
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. Authorities are preparing for another mission to relocate gray wolves to Isle Royale National Park from a second Lake Superior island. The wolves would be moved from Michipicoten Island in Canadian territory, where they’re in danger of starvation after gobbling up a caribou herd. The transfer planned for this weekend is part of a multi-year effort to rebuild wolf numbers at Isle Royale, which have plummeted in the past decade. (Daniel Conjanu/The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation via AP)
917337_web1_917337-ae921790f24b4e9d8920494c6e70c056
This Feb. 28, 2019 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 shows an Ontario wolf captured at Michipicoten Island in Ontario, Canada. Authorities are preparing for another mission to relocate gray wolves to Isle Royale National Park from a second Lake Superior island. The wolves would be moved from Michipicoten Island in Canadian territory, where they’re in danger of starvation after gobbling up a caribou herd. The transfer planned for this weekend is part of a multi-year effort to rebuild wolf numbers at Isle Royale, which have plummeted in the past decade. (Mike Allan/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry via AP)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A U.S.-Canadian team prepared Thursday for another mission to relocate gray wolves to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan from a second Lake Superior island, where the predators are in danger of starvation after gobbling up a caribou herd.

The targeted pack is on Michipicoten Island on the eastern side of the lake, which was home to hundreds of caribou until ice bridges formed in recent years, enabling wolves to cross over from the mainland and feast on their helpless prey.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources airlifted some of the last surviving caribou to another island last year. Before long the wolves were the ones in trouble, with only small mammals such as snowshoe hare left to eat.

Their hunting prowess makes them prime candidates for Isle Royale, where a multiyear effort is under way to rebuild a wolf population needed to keep moose numbers under control, Superintendent Phyllis Green said.

“We can use the good skills of those wolves, and this will match them with a larger island that will give them a better opportunity,” Green said.

Isle Royale now has eight wolves, including six that were brought there last fall and winter from Minnesota and Ontario. Two of the newcomers were from Michipicoten Island, including the pack’s alpha male.

Around six are believed to remain on Michipicoten. A crew of pilots, biologists and others will try to capture at least some and fly them to Isle Royale in the next few days, weather permitting.

Officials had said earlier this month that no additional transfers were planned until this fall or next winter, partly because of a lack of money.

But two private organizations — the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation and the International Wolf Center — kicked off a fund-raising effort, fearing the Michipicoten wolves would run out of food before then.

“They’re not going to make it,” said Carol Brady, spokeswoman for the foundation.

The groups have pledged $75,000 between them and have started a GoFundMe campaign to produce the remaining $25,000 needed for a four-day airlift operation. The Ontario ministry granted approval Monday, Brady said.

As they’ve done before, crew members will trap the wolves with net guns fired from helicopters. They’ll be examined by veterinarians, and those healthy enough for movement will be taken to their new home, where there will be no shortage of prey. Isle Royale’s booming moose population is believed to exceed 1,500.

“If left unchecked, moose would over-consume the island’s vegetation,” said Rob Schultz, executive director of the wolf center. “Apex predators like wolves are important components of any healthy, natural ecosystems.”

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.