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WI: Four Canadian wolves released at Isle Royale

Joe Friedrichs

Four more wolves arrived to Isle Royale National Park in recent days. During a narrow weather window between storms last week, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry successfully transferred four wolves from Canada to Isle Royale.

Two mainland wolves, one female and one male from the same pack and both with a black coat color variation, were captured on crown land near Wawa, Ontario, and transferred to Isle Royale, according to a news release from the National Park Service. Weather cleared long enough on Feb. 28 to provide an opportunity to access Michipicoten Island Provincial Park on Lake Superior, where two males were captured.

All four wolves were evaluated based on expectations for winter body conditions and deemed healthy enough for transfer and release.

The first Canadian wolf, a 65 pound female, arrived at Isle Royale Feb. 26. The next day, wildlife officials successfully captured a large 92-pound male from the same pack. He was held for evaluation and transported to Isle Royale and released on Thursday.

The clear skies on Thursday finally allowed wildlife officials to reach Michipicoten Island.While there, they captured two male wolves, including the alpha male of the Michipicoten Island pack.  He was transported and released on Isle Royale Friday.

“These large males, all around 90 lbs., will almost certainly know what to do when they encounter a moose,” stated Mark Romanski, Division Chief of Natural Resources for Isle Royale National Park and project manager for the reintroduction efforts.

In related news, one of the three wolves transferred from Grand Portage to Isle Royale last fall recently crossed Lake Superior on a natural ice bridge and returned to the mainland.

Satellite imagery from March 2 showed much of Lake Superior covered in ice. The National Ice Center estimates the Big Lake is more than 80 percent covered in ice.