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Climate Change, Wolves, and their Future on Isle Royale

Though several factors have played a role in the Isle Royale wolves’ demise, Biologists Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich assert that the most prominent cause of their plight is something far less direct.

The wolves, they say, are dying because of climate change.

Lake Superior average temperature has increased by 4 degrees in 25 years. With warming temperatures, the ice bridge that used to connect Isle Royale to Canada, and which allowed wolves to walk back and forth, has all but disappeared.

Read why biologists are arguing over whether or not to rescue this unique island population of wolves and the methods proposed to do so.  Rolf Peterson wants the National Park Service to try a “genetic rescue” to save the inbred population. He wants to bring new wolves to the island to mate with the current packs and literally clean up the gene pool. While several biologists like Dr David Mech is adamantly opposed to rescuing them, Rolf Peterson sees an attempt to rescue as an opportunity “to inject positive human influence for once.”  Well said, Dr Peterson!

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