While the Isle Royale National Park once held as many as 50 gray wolves, their population is now down to just three.
With their population at an all time low since scientists began tracking them more than 50 years ago, researchers have announced that the longest-running predator-prey study in the world, which has been running for 57-years, will likely be forced to move in another direction as the wolf population they’ve been studied is nearly extinct.
Researchers announced the latest figures, a mere three wolves, on April 17, 2015, according to a report on Nature News which quoted one of the project’s leaders, Rolf Peterson, as having said that “genetic rescue is almost certainly too late” at this point. A scenario which project leaders Peterson and John Vucetich blame the US National Park Service’s “dithering” for, as the window for genetic rescue closed before the NPS executed any kind of resolve in the matter.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Rolf Peterson”]
We have science coming out our ears and it wasn’t enough to carry the day against an entrenched bureaucracy with a culture of non-intervention
In response, Isle Royale National Park superintendent Phyllis Green indicated that science is only one of the variables she’ll take into account when she decided whether to intervene. She was quoted in the aforementioned Nature News report as having said that while “some people love hearing a wolf howl in the wilderness,” there are those who “say ‘if you put the wolf out there, I am not as thrilled about hearing it”.
Gray wolf numbers on the island are down, however, the national park’s moose population is on the rise. According to a report on The Verge, the moose population on the island has been increasing at a rate of roughly 22 percent per year.
While numbers are down on the Great Lakes island known as Isle Royale, which is situated in the northwest of Lake Superior, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) unveiled last month that Washington state’s gray wolf population increased by more than 30 percent in 2014.
What are your thoughts on the Isle Royale’s dwindling gray wolf population and the notion of human intervention?