Moose Are Starving On Isle Royale But There’s Hope
It is one of the most fragile animal dynamics on the planet, the dynamic between the moose and the wolves in Michigan's National Park.
It was not a good winter to be a moose on Isle Royale, located in Lake Superior, near the Canadian border.
The island has long had a fragile dynamic between wolves and moose, the two main mammals that populate the thin, long, rocky spine the makes up Isle Royale.
Wolf herds depend on the moose herds for food, and strangely enough the moose herd is helped by the wolves by thinning their herd, so they the island can continue to support it with its limited supply of food.
Lately, the wolves had become too inbred to support themselves and had begun dying off, which meant the moose herd has gotten too big for the island to support it.
The moose herd has begun to feel the effects of the wolves going away. Officials have reported the remains of 15 moose that died from malnutrition this winter. The average is usually one or two.
According to the Duluth News Tribune, Michigan Tech biologists studying the fragile wolf-moose dynamic say it was the worst winter for moose in a while.
“The state of the forest is the worst we’ve seen it since we began monitoring it” nearly 25 years ago, Susan Hoy of MTU told the News Tribune. “The moose are eating it faster than it can grow.”
The good news, says Hoy, is the wolf pack is starting to bounce back from its lowest points a few years ago.
“We recovered footage of a group of four wolf pups taken in January 2021 by remote cameras at the east end of Isle Royale,” Hoy reported on MTU.edu.
“Additionally, observations of tracks and scats left by wolf pups last fall at two different locations suggest that there were probably two different litters of pups living at the east end of the island in September 2020.”
There may also have been another litter born at the west end of the island last year.
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