Rolf's presentation at Canoecopia

Questions regarding the Flora and Fauna on the island.

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johnhens
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Rolf's presentation at Canoecopia

Post by johnhens » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:53 pm

Some of the things I learned at the presentation.
Rolf was very forthcoming about the change in his views of the future of IR wolves. He mentioned ,at one time he thought, if the wolves died out they died out. Then he was for reintroducing wolves if the population went away. He gave a good explanation, that changed my opinion of what should be done, with his explanation of the interdependency of the flora and fauna on IR. If the wolves were not on IR, eventually (and this would not take long) one of the moose's primary foods, balsam fir, would be gone and the moose would not have browse to get them through winter. Moose would die off. The current balsam are all similar in size, either mature balsam at the end of their lifespan or young balsam. These, the young, would be browsed and die and natural succession would encourage the growth of hardwood trees.
The current kill rate for wolf predation of moose is 10% of the population, the number should be higher.
He played a night video/audio of a moose "growling" at 3 wolves that eventually seemed to scare them off. Had never heard this kind of noise out of a moose. He mentioned Isabelle's caracass was sent to Ft. Collins, CO instead of having the IR folks do the necropsy, the reason which is beyond me.

Both Rolf and Candy were generous with their time and stories at Canoecopia, you could not meet 2 nicer people. Rolf impressed me with his candor about the change over time in his beliefs about the IR wolves and moose. I am sure I am leaving out details, that hopefully others will add.

I strongly encourage those that have not sent in their thoughts and opinions on the IR wolf issue to please do so. Time is of the essence and your opinion does matter.


emanoh
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Re: Rolf's presentation at Canoecopia

Post by emanoh » Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:14 am

Not clear on your post. First you said his thoughts were to let them die out, then he was for reintroduction. Is he still for reintroduction based on the moose clear cutting/eating one of their main food sources, the Balsam Fir?

Based on his moose "growing" comments. Are IR moose adapting a new defense mechanism for wolves.

Did he comment on the colared IR wolf they found on the mainland earlier this winter. Looks like one escapted.


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Re: Rolf's presentation at Canoecopia

Post by Trmills85 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:32 am

I believe Dr. Petersen has written before, that the tragedy of 3 wolves drown in a mine shaft changed his perspective on reintroduction. Before he was against it, then he realized that human intervention had already happened in the form of a mine shaft incident.


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Re: Rolf's presentation at Canoecopia

Post by johnhens » Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:02 am

emanoh wrote:Not clear on your post. First you said his thoughts were to let them die out, then he was for reintroduction. Is he still for reintroduction based on the moose clear cutting/eating one of their main food sources, the Balsam Fir?

Based on his moose "growing" comments. Are IR moose adapting a new defense mechanism for wolves.

Did he comment on the colared IR wolf they found on the mainland earlier this winter. Looks like one escapted.
His thoughts on what to do with the wolves have evolved over time. He favors adding wolves to the existing population so that genetic traits that may have developed from being on IR will be preserved.

IR moose are growing in numbers while the wolf population is not. Less moose are being killed as there are fewer wolves to hunt them. The beaver population is increasing also.

Isabelle, the collared wolf that left the Island, was found dead in Grand Portage. The carcass was partially consumed. The remains were sent to Ft. Collins by the NPS for a necropsy instead of having Rolf's people do the necropsy.


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Re: Rolf's presentation at Canoecopia

Post by treeplanter » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:03 am

john hens wrote:.........If the wolves were not on IR, eventually (and this would not take long) one of the moose's primary foods, balsam fir, would be gone and the moose would not have browse to get them through winter. Moose would die off.........
A gent by the name of Thomas Malthus came up with a theory of population control back in the late 1700's. We now call these the "Malthusian Controls" and they say, simply put, if a species of animal eliminates its food source by over-eating, the population will crash because of disease, plague, famine, etc. On Isle Royale, if wolves did die out and the moose population increased to the point where they ate themselves out of house and home, the moose population will "self-correct" and their numbers would plummet. Theoretically, the greatly reduced moose numbers would allow the vegetation (balsam fir and others) to recover.

I’m not suggesting that this is the best course of action, but nature usually has a way of correcting imbalances.


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Re: Rolf's presentation at Canoecopia

Post by johnhens » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:58 am

treeplanter wrote:
john hens wrote:.........If the wolves were not on IR, eventually (and this would not take long) one of the moose's primary foods, balsam fir, would be gone and the moose would not have browse to get them through winter. Moose would die off.........
A gent by the name of Thomas Malthus came up with a theory of population control back in the late 1700's. We now call these the "Malthusian Controls" and they say, simply put, if a species of animal eliminates its food source by over-eating, the population will crash because of disease, plague, famine, etc. On Isle Royale, if wolves did die out and the moose population increased to the point where they ate themselves out of house and home, the moose population will "self-correct" and their numbers would plummet. Theoretically, the greatly reduced moose numbers would allow the vegetation (balsam fir and others) to recover.

I’m not suggesting that this is the best course of action, but nature usually has a way of correcting imbalances.
What do you think should be done?


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Re: Rolf's presentation at Canoecopia

Post by niners » Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:47 pm

Not only did man interfere with the mine shaft, but in the 80's man also introduced the parvo virus (via a boater with a dog) to the island that in essence removed 2/3 of the genetic variability in the existing wolves. While there is no way to know for sure, that change probably greatly increased the speed at which the wolves reached the critical point in genetic diversity.


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Re: Rolf's presentation at Canoecopia

Post by ccpeter » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:06 am

The current kill rate for wolves preying on moose is 2%, not 10% (the average).
A veterinarian in the audience at Canoecopia spoke about mixed breeds in dogs. In just one generation, the problems that have developed in pure-bred golden retrievers and poodles disappeared when they mated with each other. Rolf mentioned that "Best in Show" in 2014 at the Westminster Dog Show was a mongrel!
We know so much about genetics now that we didn't know even five years ago. It is this new knowledge that has caused Rolf, John Vucetich and many other scientists to change their minds and advocate a genetic rescue of Isle Royale's wolves.


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Re: Rolf's presentation at Canoecopia

Post by BadgerFan » Mon May 12, 2014 6:56 am

Human impact is part of nature. There is no feature of "nature" in N Amer that humans have not impacted going back several thousand years. The idea that " nature" will solve this issue is misguided, unless humans are part of the equation. If maintaining biodiversity on IR is the goal then wolves need to be there. If biodiversity is not the goal - what is?


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Re: Rolf's presentation at Canoecopia

Post by Kevinl » Mon May 12, 2014 2:25 pm

Here's that growling video, from the Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=46 ... =2&theater

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