HOUGHTON, Mich. (FOX 9) - Four more wolves were relocated to Isle Royale National Park on Lake Superior last week as part of the National Park Service’s ongoing effort to rebuild the island’s once-thriving wolf population.
All four wolves are from Ontario, Canada. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources captured one male and one female from the same pack near Wawa, Ontario, while the other two - both males - were captured on Michipicoten Island Provincial Park in Ontario.
Last year, the National Park Service announced its plan to move 20-30 wolves from the U.S. and Canada to Isle Royale over the next three years to restore predation to the island’s ecosystem.
WOLF WEEK: Wolves to be reintroduced to Isle Royale
Wolves are not native to Isle Royale. Scientists believe ice bridges that formed on the lake in the winter helped the first wolves to find the island more than 75 years ago. The population peaked at around 50 wolves in 1980, but fell off in recent years until only two non-breeding wolves remained to hunt the island’s 1,400 moose.
Four Minnesota wolves were released on the island last fall, but one died a short time later. In February, a second wolf walked back to the mainland over an ice bridge that formed during the polar vortex.
Winter storms had thwarted a previous attempt to relocated Canadian wolves to the island, but a weather window last week gave researchers the opportunity they needed. Within hours of arriving, park officials said the wolves immediately got on the trail of their pack mates.