wolves

This year’s Winter Study of the wolves and moose of Isle Royale found that there are still just two wolves hanging out on the island.

The Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project has been tracking the rare ecosystem on Isle Royale for almost 60 years. What makes Isle Royale rare is that the island, located in Lake Superior roughly 50 miles from the Upper Peninsula, has just two main animals inhabiting it. The food chain is simple: The wolves are the predators and the moose are the prey.

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Recently, the tracking of the wolves and moose on Isle Royale led to an unlikely musical creation. 

The winter study of the wolves and moose on Isle Royale is heading into its 59th year. The wolf-moose study is the longest running study of any predator and its prey in the world.

Scientists from Michigan Tech spend several weeks on the island in the middle of winter every year. They'll be heading back out soon.

Just two wolves left on Isle Royale

Apr 19, 2016

This year’s winter study on the wolves and moose of Isle Royale is out today.

It says it appears there are only two wolves left – down from three last year, and a high of 50 in the 1980s.

Rolf Peterson is a research professor at Michigan Tech University. He says these last two wolves are closely related.

“They’re father and daughter and they’re also half-siblings, because they share the same mother," he says.

The National Park Service is taking a closer look at whether or not to bring more grey wolves to Isle Royale National Park. Only two wolves remain on the island now.

To help make its decision, the park service wants to hear from you. It’s accepting public comments on the question right now.

The wolf population on Isle Royale has been dropping for some time.

There were nine animals last year, and in their latest winter study report, researchers on Isle Royale only spotted these three wolves on the entire island:

Isle Royale has been home to the longest running predator-prey study in the world -- researchers have been studying how wolves prey on moose here since 1958.

The winter study of the wolves and moose on Isle Royale is heading into its 57th year. 

The wolf-moose study is the longest continuous study of any predator and its prey in the world.

Scientists Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich spend seven weeks on the island in the middle of winter every year. They'll be heading back out in a few weeks.

Larry McGahey / USFWS Headquarters

State wildlife officials say they’re disappointed in a court decision that restores federal endangered species protections to the gray wolf in Michigan and other Great Lakes states.

A federal judge ruled Friday that the wolf was improperly removed from the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list. State wildlife officials say the decision not only blocks future wolf hunt seasons in Michigan, it denies farmers and dog owners the ability to kill wolves that threaten pets and livestock.

Less than a month after voters weighed in on wolf hunting in Michigan, a new study looks at the attitudes driving the wolf debate.

The study, co-authored by Meredith Gore of Michigan State University, tries to better understand why controversy persists in wolf management in Michigan.

The Michigan Senate has said “yes” to a petition-initiated measure to allow wolf hunting in the Upper Peninsula. It would also overhaul Michigan’s wildlife management rules to let a state commission decide which species can be hunted. And the measure would circumvent two ballot challenges to wolf hunting laws.

The Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management gathered almost 300,000 signatures of registered voters to put the question to the Legislature.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

A Michigan Tech biologist says wolves should be brought to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior if officials want to save island vegetation.

John Vucetich heads a study of the predator-prey relationship in the park between wolves and moose. He says more wolves would help keep the moose population under control. He says, if left unchecked, moose will over-browse and decimate the island’s vegetation.

Vucetich says this is the point where scientists must ask themselves what the purpose of a protected area is.

The 45-day wolf hunting season that began November 15 inflamed passions, both pro and con.

Now that the first-ever wolf hunt is wrapped up, what were the results?

John Barnes explored the impact of the hunt in a recent piece for MLive, which breaks down the ages of the 22 wolves killed over the course of the hunt. He joined us on Stateside today (you can listen to the audio above).

The campaign to stop wolf hunts in Michigan says it has more than enough petition signatures to get a referendum on the November ballot. This would be the second ballot challenge to a wolf hunt because the state’s first wolf hunting law was blocked by a petition challenge that will also go before voters in November.

The Legislature got around that by passing a new law that’s the target of this ballot drive.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

A group hoping to end wolf hunting in Michigan says a law banning out-of-state petition circulators is unconstitutional. It filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court challenging the law.

Right now, only Michigan residents are allowed to collect signatures for ballot campaigns and voter initiatives.

Extremely cold weather may have played a part in the damper on hunters’ success in bagging a wolf in the Upper Peninsula. It’s been almost two and a half weeks since a wolf was taken by a hunter.

It was December fifth, to be exact, when the last wolf was bagged. Twenty wolves have been taken so far, and it’s not likely that number will reach the limit of 43 set by state wildlife officials. 

Group Petitions In Favor Of Wolf Hunting

Dec 3, 2013

Petitions will start circulating Wednesday that would again give state officials the legal right to hold wolf hunts in Michigan. Monday the Board of State Canvassers approved wording for the petition, which is backed by Michigan hunting groups.

Drew YoungeDyke, with Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, says they want to collect enough signatures to put proposal in the hands of state lawmakers by late Spring.

Eleven Wolves Taken So Far

Nov 25, 2013

The hunt is half way over and so far hunters have taken 11 of 43 wolves allowed by state law this year. This is the first hunting season in the Upper Peninsula since the animal was removed from the endangered species list.

Larry McGahey / USFWS Headquarters/Flickr

Michigan wildlife officials are dismissing claims that bad information led to the state’s upcoming wolf hunt.

Opponents of the hunt are asking Governor Rick Snyder to suspend it based on a recent MLive report. It raised questions about a number of alleged wolf encounters with humans, pets, and livestock in the U.P.

One Problem Farm Has Most Wolf Livestock Kills

Aug 15, 2013

One problem farm in the Upper Peninsula appears to exaggerate the problem of wolves killing livestock. A main reason state officials approved a wolf hunting season this year was to prevent such attacks.

Poor Practices

In management unit B, a single cattle ranch accounts for nearly three-fourths of incidents when wolves killed livestock. That’s according to data compiled from Department of Natural Resources reports.

Five Michigan Indian tribes have decided to challenge the state’s decision to hold a wolf hunt in the western Upper Peninsula this coming fall.

The tribes of the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority say the state did not consult with them in a meaningful way before establishing a gray wolf season, and that’s required by a 2007 consent decree.                                                            

Aaron Payment, chair of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, says the wolf is sacred in tribal culture and the hunting season disrespects that.

A referendum on wolf hunting in Michigan will be on the November 2014 ballot, but the vote will not stop a wolf hunting season in the Upper Peninsula scheduled for this fall.

Petitions to let voters decide whether the law should remain on the books were certified Wednesday by a state elections panel. The “Keep Michigan Wolves Protected” ballot campaign says allowing the gray wolf to be hunted could return it to the endangered species list.

U. P. Wolf Hunt Coming This November

May 10, 2013

There will be a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula this fall. Hunting will be allowed in three separate zones beginning November 15th.

The state Natural Resources Commission approved the hunt Thursday. State officials hope 43 wolves will be killed in the hunt.

Until recently the Gray Wolf was listed as an endangered species, but state officials say numbers have grown dramatically since the year 2000. A total of 658 of the animals were counted in the U.P. this winter. Some have complained that's lead to an increase in attacks on livestock and pets.

A state House committee has approved a measure that would change how hunting is managed in Michigan, and bypass a referendum on wolf hunting if it’s on the ballot next year.

Two questions dominated the hearing on the bill: whether hunting is an appropriate part of plans to manage wolves in the Upper Peninsula, and whether the Legislature should approve a new law to allow wolf hunts before the referendum.

Wolf Hunt Opponents Say They Have Enough Signatures For A Statewide Vote

Mar 27, 2013

People fighting a proposed wolf hunt in Michigan delivered a quarter million petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office this morning. The petition calls for a statewide vote on the law authorizing the wolf hunt.

Jill Fritz, director of the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign, says she’s optimistic state officials will validate enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot. If that happens, the vote would not be until November 2014, but any decision to approve a wolf hunt would be put on hold until after the vote.

Bad News for Isle Royale Wolves

Mar 26, 2013

A new report says the wolf population on Isle Royale is in dire straits. Researchers could find no evidence in their winter survey that any pups were born last year.

It’s the first time in 40 years that wolves failed to reproduce.

John Vucetich says the small population is so inbred that the remaining eight animals either won’t or can’t produce offspring.

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