Three wolves found a new home at Isle Royale National Park — a remote island cluster on Lake Superior by the Upper Peninsula — bringing the island’s wolf population to 17.
The goal of the Isle Royale wolf translocation effort is to have at least 20 new wolves moved to the island over a three to five year period. The park is in year two.
Last year, park officials translocated wolves from Minnesota and Ontario to repopulate the island.
Isle Royale National Park Public Information Officer Liz Valencia says this year seven wolves were caught in the Upper Peninsula for translocation, but only four were deemed fit for life on the island. Researchers conduct field tests while catching the wolves to determine if they are a good match, she says.
The four, two males and two females, were brought to the park during the week of Sept. 9, but one female died within the first few days on Isle Royale.
Valencia says the researchers wanted to bring in wolves from Michigan to widen the genetic pool on the island, which would help with the long-term sustainability of the population.
“Once the wolves are on the island there is limited opportunity for wolves to come and go. And also limited opportunity to bring new genetics in, so they recommended bringing in wolves from a variety of different places,” she says.
Researchers plan to study the wolves over the next few months with a focus on the social organization and reproduction of the wolves, Valencia says.