ISLE ROYALE, Mich. — A wolf trapped in Michigan's Upper Peninsula got a free plane ride to Isle Royale where it was released Friday, Sept. 6, the National Park Service reported.
The 70-pound male wolf, between 2 and 3 years old, was the first to be moved to the island as part of the second round of a three- to five-year effort to restore the island’s declining wolf population.
The new Michigan wolf joins 14 other wolves on Isle Royale; 12 that were trapped and brought to the island last fall and winter from Minnesota and Ontario and two resident wolves — blood relatives unable to successfully mate — that are still hanging on. The island population now includes eight males and seven females.
One of the goals of the Park Service project is to source new wolves from diverse geographic areas to ensure genetic diversity. The goal for this fall’s operation is to move four to six wolves from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the Lake Superior island which is located about 14 miles off Minnesota's North Shore.
The Park Service and researchers from Michigan Technological University are tracking the movements of the wolves around the island. The primary goals of the project are to ensure that wolves form packs, reproduce, and act as predators on the park’s burgeoning moose population. Initial indications show that after just a few short months, the new wolves are starting to travel and hunt together. A female wolf from Minnesota and two males from Michipicoten Island Provincial Park formed a pack in April.