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Rolf Peterson

Isle Royale is down to one lone wolf

The last remaining wolf pair on Michigan’s Isle Royale may be gone, The Detroit Free Press reports today, leaving behind a lone female who is both the daughter—and half-sibling—of the unaccounted-for male. Once numbering 50 or more, wolves on the 230-hectare island in Lake Superior kept the moose population there, which has ballooned to more than 1600, in check. But recent years have brought a host of difficulties: Warming weather has melted the ice bridges that once allowed mainland wolves to come over, and a lack of new pack members has led to inbreeding and illness. Researchers, who could not confirm the presence of the two wolves during their annual summer survey, have called on the National Park Service to implement a genetic rescue; the service’s preferred plan—now under review by the U.S. Department of the Interior—is to bring 20 to 30 new wolves to the island over a 5-year period.

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