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Health, Science and Environment

National Park Service plans to introduce 20-30 wolves to Isle Royale

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The National Park Service announced a plan to reintroduce 20 to 30 wolves to Isle Royale. They’re hoping the move helps balance out a growing moose population on Isle Royale.

Park officials said with only two known wolves on the island, the moose herd is growing roughly 20 percent each year. They said the growth is having an effects on plant life.

Phyllis Green is the superintendent of Isle Royale National Park. She said the park service has offers from surrounding Great Lakes states and Ontario as potential places to transport incoming wolves from.

“Without a predator role in the ecosystem that currently exists there you will have pretty wide population swings of moose and subsequent impacts to like our unique plants and communities that the moose browse on”.

Green said a lack of diversity in the gene pool is what caused the wolf population to decline.

“What we’re looking to do is have a pretty vibrant group of wolves introduced on the island so that the genetic bottleneck question is put off well well into the future if at all”.

Green said by being selective about were they take wolves from they should have more genetic diversity. Therefore, the wolf pack - at least in theory - should last longer than the first pack -- which was established on the island more than 60 years ago.

 

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