Isle Royale Wolves

The wolves of Isle Royale National Park, located on Lake Superior, are disappearing. Should conservationists do something about it? This one is, in my opinion, very complicated, with no clear answers. I’d welcome your opinion here and at the blog — both pro and con.

http://blog.nature.org/science/2013/10/10/should-we-let-the-wolves-of-isle-royale-disappear/

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6 Comments on “Isle Royale Wolves”

  1. Bob Berghaier Says:

    Hello Jon,

    I read this last week. I am most likely be in the minority but I am all for replacing the moose with woodland caribou (an endangered species in the lower 48) if the Isla Royale wolves disappear. Releasing lynx as well works for me. With 7 billion plus on the planet we are going to need to make decisions like this to keep large mammal diversity.

    • Jon Hall Says:

      Hi Bob, this was actually Matt Miller’s post (I wish WordPress made it more obvious who is writing). But I enjoyed the piece and see that the article has generated quite a lot of comment on TNC’s blog. I don’t see there can be any hard and fast rules for this sort of stuff. Ideas on what is “natural” are inevitably subjective as Matt says and I think each case should be approached pragmatically (on its merits and contribution to the bigger picture, and what is likely to work) rather than dogmatically. Plus I’ve never seen a Lynx so I am all for more of them 🙂
      Jon

  2. mattinidaho Says:

    Thanks for the comments. I am all for reintroduction and rewilding programs and think they have a lot of promise for conservation. I think the issue here is that the wolves only arrived in 1948. I think restoring lynx and caribou makes more sense, although I think a lot of habitat restoration would need to happen first–the island has been altered quite a bit by humans.


    • I agree. Of course, the place might be too warm for caribou by now, but at least it’s worth a try. As for the lynx, the island has a huge snowshoe hare population: you run into them all the time.

  3. peojpeoj Says:

    I am not sure. Ik think we have to replace what we have destroyed in the past as much as possible indeed. But with islands I think it is always a bit different. The wolves came and now they may be leaving again, leaving this island to probably turn into another kind of habitat, again. Could this not be a natural occuring thing? That an island one day becomes barren due to overgrazing because of lack of predators, providing other types of habitat, and in a next fase becomes densely forested, providing yet other types of habitat, all because off some species that might arrive due to ice bridges etc. I do not think we can simply compare this to the mainland. Would it no be an idea to just wait and see what happens?


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