Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wolves In Isle Royale National Park Bounce Back

Date:
March 12, 1999
Source:
Michigan Technological University
Summary:
The wolves of Isle Royale National Park have surprised scientists again by staging a dramatic comeback just when wildlife managers were worried that the island park's most storied species might be headed for trouble.

HOUGHTON, MI--The wolves of Isle Royale National Park have surprised scientists again by staging a dramatic comeback just when wildlife managers were worried that the island park's most storied species might be headed for trouble.

Several times during the past two decades biologists have felt that canine parvovirus or a perceived genetic weakness resulting from inbreeding was placing the wolves' survival in grave jeopardy. And when last winter's survey turned up only 14 wolves in the park, those concerns increased.

But what a difference a year makes!

Park Superintendent Douglas Barnard announced today that this winter's survey showed the island's wolves had boosted their numbers to 25. "That's the most wolves we've had in the park since 1981 and the biggest annual increase ever," he said. Barnard said the increase was due primarily to high reproductive success by two of the island's three wolf packs.

"Two of the packs produced six pups apiece," he said. "One pack comprised of only a male and female didn't have any pups survive, and there are three single wolves wandering around out there without any pack affiliation."

Michigan Tech's Dr. Rolf Peterson, who conducts the annual winter wolf-moose census for the National Park Service, points to two main causes for the wolves' reproductive success this year.

"The park's moose have been generally in poor condition due to a heavy winter tick infestation caused by the mild winter and early spring of a year ago," he says. "The unusual heat of the summer also made it difficult for them to put on the fat required to survive through the winter." Peterson says the resulting diminished vigor made moose easier prey for wolves.

"Secondly, there are lots of moose calves now, and an increasing number of adults who are reaching old age. Both make easy prey for wolves," he explains.

Peterson says the park's East and Middle packs each produced six pups during the past year, so that these packs now number 10 wolves apiece. "We believe the West pack produced three offspring, but none of them survived," he says. "We don't know why for sure, but it may well have to do with the scarcity of moose at that end of the island." He says the park's moose population numbers 750 this year, as compared to 700 a year ago, with most of the animals concentrated in the east and middle portions of the island.

Peterson is encouraged by the fact that dead wolves found by the survey crew during the past few years have been disease-free and showed no direct signs of any genetic problem that biologists thought might have caused poor reproduction in past years. In the past year only one wolf has died on Isle Royale, and biologists determined that it had been killed in a territorial dispute by other wolves.

National Park officials are hoping for continued positive growth in the wolf population that would keep the total number of wolves on Isle Royale in the high 20s during the next several years.

Wolf research on Isle Royale is funded by the National Park Service, National Science Foundation, and Earthwatch.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan Technological University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan Technological University. "Wolves In Isle Royale National Park Bounce Back." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990312061821.htm>.
Michigan Technological University. (1999, March 12). Wolves In Isle Royale National Park Bounce Back. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990312061821.htm
Michigan Technological University. "Wolves In Isle Royale National Park Bounce Back." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990312061821.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins