The road to wolf reintroduction on the Isle Royale in Michigan has been a rocky one. Another male was reported dead yesterday.

The Isle Royale National Park released the following:

In late March, the NPS discovered a translocated wolf’s GPS collar transmitting a mortality mode signal.  The wolf (W006M) was a black-coated male translocated to the park from Ontario, Canada, in late February.  NPS personnel, unable to access the island, had to wait until the park reopened for the 2019 season to investigate.  The wolf was located in the middle of Siskiwit swamp, a large wetland complex at the southwest end of the island.  NPS personnel and cooperating investigators from State University of New York-College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) using coordinates provided by the GPS collar traveled five miles into the swamp to recover the carcass and determine the cause of death. The GPS collar quit transmitting two weeks prior. Investigators found no apparent signs of injury or struggle, however, the carcass was in a very deteriorated state due to melting snow and wet conditions, making an accurate cause of death determination impossible.

Annual survival of wild wolves in the nearby Upper Peninsula of Michigan is approximately 75% or conversely, approximately 25 % annual mortality can be expected. “After translocation of 11 wolves this winter it was a disappointment to learn of this mortality and even more frustrating that the carcass could not be accessed in a timely way for a detailed necropsy,” said Mark Romanski, Division Chief of Natural Resources for the park.  “A few weeks prior this male was traveling with one of the females translocated from Minnesota in October 2018.  It would have been nice to see them stay together.”

The island’s wolf population now totals 14 wolves, 12 successfully translocated from Minnesota and Canada plus the two wolves that remained on Isle Royale before the initiation of wolf reintroduction efforts.

The entire news release can be read here.

You can also read more about the Isle Royale introduction here.

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