Efforts are underway to move wolves in danger of starvation from a Lake Superior island to Isle Royale.
The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation says the International Wolf Center is supporting a final effort to more four to six wolves from Michipicoten Island in northern Lake Superior.
The foundation says there are no more caribou on the island, the only winter source of food for the wolves.
“On Michipicoten, nature’s lessons can be cruel and starvation is one of them,” said Sona Mehring, the chair of the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation. “For the remaining wolves on Michipicoten, that will be their fate unless we help move them to Isle Royale National Park, where their hunting skills and genetics can add value to establishing a new population of wolves on Isle Royale.”
The population of more than 1,600 moose on Isle Royale, and the need to help repopulate the predator wolves, makes the park an ideal new destination.
“We’re especially proud of the fact that the International Wolf Center is helping to save the lives of a small pack of wolves on Michipicoten Island,” said the Center’s Executive Director Rob Schultz. “Since all of the caribou have been removed from Michipicoten, there’s nothing left for the wolves there to eat this winter and there is a real threat of starvation.”
It is estimated that the cost of the project will be $100,000. The Foundation raised $30,000 and the International Wolf Center raised an additional $45,000. The organizations have started a GoFundMe page to raise the final $25,000. That page can be found at bit.ly/isleroyalewolves
“As we discussed this project, we found many people who supported seeing the forests of Isle Royale remaining healthy,” Mehring said. “We are close to realizing the goal of providing another capture opportunity to move these iconic wolves to an island that needs them in its ecosystem.”
Science has long showed that wolves play an important role in nature. This translocation shows how wolves can be used to naturally manage ungulate populations.
“Since the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, we’ve seen first-hand the positive impact wolves have on ecosystems,” Schultz said. “A thriving wolf population in Isle Royale’s ecosystem will make a similar impact. If left unchecked, moose would over-consume the island’s vegetation. Apex predators, like wolves, are important components of any healthy, natural ecosystems.
“This shows just one more way we put our donor’s support to hard work to advance wolf populations around the world. We’re honored to team up with National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation to make a difference together.”
National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preservation of the natural resources and unique cultural heritage of Lake Superior’s five U.S. National Parks. National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation funds research, restoration, education, and resource protection projects for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Grand Portage National Monument, Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw National Historical Park, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation has a proven record of funding projects both large and small providing more that $1.5 million in funding across all five parks.
The International Wolf Center, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the premier source for wolf information and education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The Center educates through its website, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, educational outreach programs, International Wolf magazine, and a beautiful interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota.