Wolves relocated to Isle Royale park finding plenty to eat | Michigan Radio

Wolves relocated to Isle Royale park finding plenty to eat

Dec 2, 2019

Wolf project technicians Megan Petersohn (left) and Cara Ratterman (right) sample wolf scat detected at wolf GPS cluster site, spring 2019, on Isle Royale.
Credit Tyler Petroelje / SUNY-ESF

Scientists say gray wolves relocated to Isle Royale National Park are adjusting nicely to their new surroundings and finding plenty of prey.

Officials released findings Monday from observations of wolves that were captured on the mainland and taken to the Lake Superior park during the past year.

Plans call for moving 20 to 30 wolves to Isle Royale to restore a population that had nearly disappeared because of inbreeding. The park's current total is 17.

The radio-collared wolves were monitored over the summer by park staffers and researchers with the State University of New York.

“Combining recent advances in technology with our knowledge of predator-prey relations will provide new insights, not only in the year-round foraging ecology of wolves on Isle Royale, but their overall role in this island ecosystem,” Dr. Jerry Belant, Professor at SUNY-ESF and collaborative partner on wolf research, said in a press release.

They studied remains of animals the wolves had eaten and concluded that more than half of the prey were moose. But the wolves also feasted on beavers and snowshoe hares.

Natural resources chief Mark Romanski says the prey study is part of an effort to determine how wolf restoration will affect the park's ecosystems.