US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



BioScience, October 2017, Vol. 67 No. 10, pp. 875-876, doi:10.1093/biosci/bix095.


U.S. government work.


Wolves (Canis lupus) and moose (Alces americanus) have been studied since 1958 on 540-squarekilometer Isle Royale National Park, in Lake Superior. Wolves arrived there across the ice around 1949, and the population once increased to about 50, averaging about 25 annually (Mech 1966, Jordan et al. 1967, Vucetich and Peterson 2009). However, for various reasons, wolf numbers there have now dwindled to 2 nonbreeders, and the US National Park Service has proposed reintroducing 20–30 wolves over 3 years (National Park Service 2016). This situation offers an unparalleled opportunity to promote science-based management of this unique national park. The park has long been in the public eye for its world-renowned wolf and moose populations. Visitors to this island wilderness are especially interested in the scientific studies it has yielded and in maintaining its ecosystem.