Isle Royale National Park is a remote island in Lake Superior where only one or two wolves remain, the lowest population in more than 50 years. Scientists believe a natural recovery in the population is not likely. As top predator, wolves play a critical role in the health of the island ecosystem.

The National Park Service is analyzed four options to address the loss of the park’s wolf population. The Park Service determined that the best option is to immediately introduce 20-30 wolves to the park over a three-year period. However, it has not adopted a final plan to introduce the wolves.

NPCA supports the Park Service analysis that bringing new wolves to the park will ensure a sustainable population and help balance the delicate ecosystem at Isle Royale National Park.

The Dilemma

Isle Royale National Park is a remote island in Lake Superior that is 99 percent federally designated wilderness. It is home to the longest predator-prey study in the world, focused on the interplay between the island’s most famous residents, its wolves and moose. The study marks its 60th year in 2018.

Right now there are only one or two wolves left on the island, making a natural recovery unlikely.

Wolves play a critical role as the top predator on the island, and their dwindling numbers have resulted in a rising moose population. In the absence of a predator, the moose population will continue to grow, which could devastate the island native vegetation, eliminating their food source as well as that of other species on the island.  

The question now is what should be done about the dwindling wolf population. NPCA believes that bringing new wolves to Isle Royale is the best method for protecting the long-term survival of moose while supporting a balanced and sustainable ecosystem at the park. 

Next Steps

The National Park Service must finalize and implement its plan to introduce wolves as soon as possible. A final plan is expected to be released in early 2018.

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