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First new wolves introduced to Isle Royale National Park

A male and female gray wolf were released in Isle Royale National Park Wednesday. The wolves came from two different packs in Minnesota. They were captured at the Grand Portage Indian Reservation and then transported by plane to Isle Royale in Lake Superior. 

“One of the wolves – the female wolf – stayed in the crate for about 45 minutes before she decided to head out and check out the island,” says Liz Valencia, public information officer for the park.

Valencia says the male wolf didn’t leave his crate till after dark.

She says these wolves should adjust to their new environment. 

“Generally the researchers anticipate that the wolves will hopefully meet with each other, form packs,” says Valencia. “That’s the goal anyway, and potentially that could happen this winter.” 

The park service will continue introducing wolves as they work to balance the island’s ecosystem. Until yesterday, there were just two wolves on the island, and they are related and not reproducing. Park officials want to make sure there’s a strong wolf population to keep surging moose numbers in check because the moose are overbrowsing the island.

Officials plan to introduce four more wolves this fall and 20 to 30 over the next few years. 

Morgan Springer is a contributing editor and producer at Interlochen Public Radio. She previously worked for the New England News Collaborative as the host/producer of NEXT, the weekly show which aired on six public radio station in the region.