A gray wolf that was moved from Canada to Michigan's Isle Royale National Park over the winter has been found dead.
Officials said Wednesday the black-coated male's body was found in the middle of a large, swampy area at the southwestern end of the Lake Superior wilderness island.
Its tracking collar had been transmitting a mortality signal since late March. Personnel had to wait until the park opened for the season in mid-April to investigate.
The carcass was too badly decomposed to determine a cause of death.
The park's natural resources chief, Mark Romanski, says the male had been traveling with a female and its loss is disappointing.
Isle Royale now has 14 wolves, including 12 relocated from Minnesota and Canada since last fall to rebuild the park's diminished population.
In a press release, the National Park Service noted that some of the wolves were starting to form loose associations based on overlapping GPS coordinations that have been detected. A female wolf relocated from Minnesota last fall and two male wolves relocated from Michipicoten Island, Ontario, Canada, earlier this year have been traveling together since early April.
“While GPS data indicate these three wolves have been together on numerous occasions, it’s too early to tell whether we have a makings of a wolf pack,” Romanski said, “but it is reassuring that we have wolves spending time together and feeding.”
The wolves will continued to be monitored by the NPS and SUNY-ESF.