Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Questions regarding the Flora and Fauna on the island.

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Tom
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Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by Tom » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:28 am

Looks like things are not so hot for the current wolves on the Isle...

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/142909635.html

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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by Nick » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:33 pm

Let's not write their obituary quite yet. I seem to recall a similar prediction after the Parvo pandemic in the early 80s. They have a way of surprising you. Still, I've read with fascination and admiration the reports from the researchers over the years.

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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by Rafiki » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:13 am

Way cool article Tom. Thanks for sharing it. What is everyone's personal opinions on matters? I personally don't believe we should intervene. I mean it has always been a hope of mine to see a wolf on the island like my girlfriend did on her first trip, but who are we to interfer with what goes on in nature. Yes, will the moose run rampant, definitely. However, I want to see how the ecosystem if affected by this because that is what is naturally meant to take place should it happen on its own. Eventually the island will only be able to substain so many moose, before food sources begin running low in areas, which in turn will affect the population of moose without reintroducing the wolves. And who knows perhaps a pack of them will find there way over to the island via an ice bridge. One did it before, maybe chance will have it that several will come at one time or over the course of a decade. I know that it would be rare and probably unlikely, but we can all still wish. Regardless, I don't think we should get involved. If we get involved as humans, then I will observe the island in a slightly different eye. I come to Isle Royale to enjoy the peacefulness, remoteness, and seclusion of the island from life as I know it, not to come to a snow globed world where man is still trying to control, manipulate, and place everything in the palm of his hand as he does back home. It is not our business and we should let things run their course. Just one mans opinion.
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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by johnhens » Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:08 am

Tom,
Thanks for posting. I think the NPS should allow nature to take its course. The researchers, for the most part, have not interfeared with the wolves and the possibility exists that unlike this non-winter, the lake may freeze across allowing the possibilty that wolves will cross over to IR. I once went to a talk by David Mech and asked him about longevity of wolves on IR. He said when they began the study in '58 they expected the wolves to be on IR no more than 20 years.

A paper written by Rolf and John should be out soon addressing the issue of the wolves and their demise and what if any management issues should be taken by the NPS to address the same.


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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by Blackdog » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:57 am

I have mixed feelings…I do believe that we should let nature run it’s course, but since Minnesota and Wisconsin are going to allow hunting of wolves, why not capture and relocate a half dozen healthy ones to the island? I know there are many costs related to relocating animals and we shouldn’t alter nature’s natural course, so this really isn’t a viable solution. It’s just something I thought of as I read articles about hunting of wolves.

It will be interesting to see how the wolves and the island responds in the next few years.

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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by Rafiki » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:23 pm

I'm surprised that they actually are allowing the wolf to be hunted in Minnesota. Excuse my ignorance on matters, but I don't believe wolves are over infesting the area are they? This isn't a matter of elminating over-population of the wolves correct? Regardless of the matter, do people even eat wolf? I ask because I am curious to know if the sole and singular reason they would be hunted is for their fur? If its just for their fur and not for any other reason, I'm kind of upset by the matter to say the least. Again, I ask many questions and admit my lack of knowledge surronding the circumstance, so please do not harp on about how I may have misinterpreted the actually facts or made assumptions without having all the information.
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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by Capt Don » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:45 pm

The wolf was removed from federal protection in Minnesota and other states this year after several tries from the MN DNR. The DNR feels they need to manage the wolf population rather than continuing protection, there have been lawsuits, debates, arguments, you name it, associated with the DNR's efforts. The wolf population in MN is very high, in our area I see them regularly on the highway, in 20 years at Isle Royale I've never seen even one. The DNR reportedly wants to reduce the population this year by 400 animals, both by hunting and trapping. I have mixed feelings on this, yes, we have lost many pets in the area but I would really hope that the moose population in NE Minnesota begins to trend upward as a result. Canada has been hunting and trapping wolves for a long time and they report having too many wolves as well. Many there feel fur sales alone are not enough of an incentive for people to spend what it takes to trap or hunt them (I know of no one that eats wolf, I can imagine it tastes like chicken though), and think returning to the bounty system is the best solution. Time will tell as they say.

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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by Rafiki » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:59 pm

Thank you for educating me on matters Capt. Don. How large is the wolf population estimated at as of right now? Reducing the population by 400 wolves seems like a lot, but then again, like I said, I don't know how large the actual population is as of currently.

P.S. My girlfriend and I are riding on the Sea Hunter and the Voyager for the first time this year in July. I can't wait! Looking forward to having you as our captain :)
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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by Marie » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:29 pm

There are currently about 3,000 wolves in MN, which is about double the number the DNR thinks is needed for a sustainable population (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/wolves/mgmt.html). I was recently at an event in northern MN (selling my wolf-related book), where most of the wolves are, and I heard many stories from people about wolf/human conflicts. Pet dogs are getting eaten and cattle are being harrassed.

I hate the idea of hunting wolves, but it sounds pretty obvious to me that some sort of management is required. I'm hoping a hunting season will reduce the amount of illegal killing of wolves going on by regulating it. Yes, the wolves would be killed mainly for their pelts and to reduce conflicts with people. However, the current proposal has the MN wolf season occuring at the same time as deer hunting season, which is a bad idea. I think it would be too easy to go over the quota of 400 with all those deer hunters out there at the same time.

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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by scotty » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:11 pm

I think they should introduce more females wolves to the Isle soon. It would be a shame for the Isle not to have them and the moose would eventually destroy the eco-system. It would also be hard to get people to re-introduce them especially with our country's negative attitude toward wolves.
Last edited by scotty on Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by scotty » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:14 pm

“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.”
― Aldo Leopold


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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by Midwest Ed » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:49 am

Here's is a slightly different report, apparently made based on the same March 15th interview of Peterson and Vucetich:

http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2012/ma ... 64989.html
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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by Capt Don » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:25 am

The notion that moose will destroy the island unless the more wolves are brought in now is absurd. Not to say that in a substantial period of years after the wolves' extiction the population of moose could rise significantly enough to cause damage. But this is nothing that is going to happen anytime soon, it would take years for moose to reach those numbers. In the mid nineties the moose population was at an all time high with well over 2000 animals, there was a visible difference in vegetation yet not anywhere near a collapse of the eco-system. Wait until when or, more importantly, if the wolves become extinct, then and only then start to reintroduce the wolf to the island.

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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by scotty » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:37 am

Yeah you're definitely right Don it would take a long time before they reached high enough numbers to cause significant harm. I think for the Isle's ecosystem to remain healthy they should either reintroduce females to prevent extinction or wait till they go extinct and reintroduce a new pack at some point. The last option would be better for the researchers I imagine. Do you think it would be hard for a new pack to establish themselves on the Isle? P.s. it looks like my chance of seeing one this summer is even lower :X


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Re: Wolf population is at risk (News article)

Post by Marie » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:54 am

Before any new wolves are brought to the island, I would think it would be best to try and figure out what exactly is leading to the decline of the current population. The researchers don't know this for sure yet. If it's a virus, like the one that occurred in the mid-1980s, it would be cruel to introduce new wolves because it could mean a death sentence. It seems like more information is needed before a decision like that could be made.

I advocate for waiting and seeing what happens to the wolves. They pulled through in the 80s, they could pull through again.

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