An interesting interplay between genetic diversity and climate change . . .
During their annual Winter Study at Isle Royale National Park, scientists from Michigan Technological University counted nine wolves organized into one breeding pack and a second small group that is a remnant of a formerly breeding pack.
In the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Study’s annual report released today, the researchers say that over the past three years, they have tallied the lowest numbers of wolves ever: nine in 2011-12, eight in 2012-13 and nine in 2013-14. During the same period, predation rates — the proportion of the moose population killed by wolves — also dropped to the lowest ever recorded, while the number of moose doubled, to approximately 1,050 moose.
Wolves are the only predators of moose on the remote island national park in northwestern Lake Superior. The moose population has been increasing because wolf predation has been so low.