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Isle Royale wolves declining while moose hold steady

[large thumbnail url=”isle-royale-wolves-declining-while-moose-hold-steady” filename=”science” year=”2010″ month=”04″ day=”26″] [thumbnail icon url=”isle-royale-wolves-declining-while-moose-hold-steady” filename=”science” year=”2010″ month=”04″ day=”26″] While both wolves and moose have been struggling in recent times on Isle Royale, home of the longest study of it’s kind, it is wolves who are faring the worst, while moose seem to be holding steady.

In the 2009-2010 annual report on wolf research at Isle Royale (attached), Drs. Peterson and John Vucetich recount the demise of the East Pack and Paduka Pack and point to the bottoming out of the moose population. Once as high as 1,000 animals, the moose count at the end of 2009 was estimated at 530. While that’s slightly more than half of the high point counted back in 1980, the researchers believe the moose population is set to rebound. Not only are wolf numbers down, but parasitic tick infestations that have bedeviled the moose for a decade have dropped somewhat.

“The foundation is set for them to increase now. Wolves had to decline before enough calves would make it through to allow the population to grow,” said Dr. Peterson. “So the next two years will be interesting because we’ll see what kind of growth potential the moose population really has. There have been enough wolves to keep them down for several years, so we’ll see if they can increase now in spite of whatever the climate does.”

While the success of this spring’s calving won’t be known until a moose census is conducted next winter, already there has been at least one sign that, with the decline of wolves, the moose are poised to have a population explosion of some size.

Read the entire article as it appeared on the National Parks Traveler Web site: Isle Royale National Park’s Wolf Population Loses Two Packs, Moose Population Steady

Related Links

The Official Isle Royale Web site
Ecological Studies of Wolves on Isle Royale 09-10

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