Detroit Free Press: Senators call for action to save Isle Royale wolves

WASHINGTON – Michigan's U.S. senators today urged the National Park Service to shorten its timetable for addressing a sharp decline in the wolf population at Isle Royale and to consider importing more of the species onto the remote Lake Superior island to bolster its numbers.

The letter to National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis comes after reports, including that in the Free Press, that only three wolves remain on Isle Royale, down from nine last year, according to the winter survey conducted by scientists at Michigan Technological University in Houghton.

As the Free Press reported last month, with the population dropping so sharply, Michigan Tech scientists said they were not be surprised if no wolves remain on the 206-square-mile island, which is also a national park, by next winter.

"An extinction of wolves at Isle Royale could lead to significant, harmful changes to the ecosystem in this remote park," the senators said in the letter to Jarvis. "The three remaining wolves may struggle to reproduce, and if they do produce offspring, the tiny genetic pool will lead to inbreeding and further complications."

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., circulated the letter, which also signed by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, also D-Mich., as well as Sens. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.

By:  Todd Spangler