Isle Royale Wolves Cautionary Tale For Beleagered Northern Rockies Wolves?

What damage has been done to the Northern Rockies wolf population? 

For starters there are more then 500 dead. Killed for no reason other then hatred and persecution of a species, hunted by the states of Idaho and Montana, mere months after their delisting in the Spring of 2009.  Wolf advocates knew this would happen if wolves were delisted. We knew the states wouldn’t be reasonable once “wolf management” was handed over to them by the Obama Administration. The feds (WS) have been killing wolves for years in the name of agribusiness, keeping a low profile but now wolves are being slaughtered on two fronts, the hunts and Wildlife Services.  Don’t forget WS gets their marching orders from the state game agencies, ie: IDFG and Montana FWP.  

The killing has been out of control and deadly.  Idaho’s wolf hunt extends to March 31, 2010, right through wolf breeding  and denning season. A SEVEN MONTH LONG HUNT!!  Is this responsible wolf management?  Of course not. Did anyone doubt this would happen?  No!

Wolves lost a large gene pool with the demise of the 500. Entire packs were eliminated in 2009 and Wildlife Services is still out gunning for them. 

Yellowstone wolves, already isolated, suffered a 27% decline by the end of 2008, their numbers dropping from 171 to 124 wolves, with high pup mortality.  For the first time since their reintroduction, their numbers did not rebound the following year.  It didn’t help that Montana opened their misguided wolf hunt right outside of Yellowstone, decimating the famous and studied Cottonwood Pack.

 Will Yellowstone’s wolves deteriorate on their “island”?   “Hunting in key dispersal corridors could disrupt the ability for wolves to move around, colonize new areas and breed with other wolves.”

With the loss of such a large gene pool will this further fragment their population?  It’s anyone’s guess because wolves have been reduced to numbers. They are relentlessly, tracked, darted, collared and killed, packs destroyed, the numbers reported BUT I have yet to read one scientific study on what all this wolf killing has done to the Northern Rockies gray wolf?  With their diminshed numbers will they be plagued by inbreeding, as has happened to the Isle Royale wolves, their tiny population isolated, suffering from spinal deformities.

“Scientists found that 58 percent of the wolves on Isle Royale exhibit a congenital malformation that can cause full or partial paralysis of the rear legs and tail”

Is this the future of the Northern Rockies wolf population? 


Isle Royale Wolves’ Inbreeding Spells Caution for Northern Rockies Wolves

The gray wolves of Isle Royale in Lake Superior are suffering from backbone malformations caused by genetic inbreeding, wildlife biologists from Michigan and Sweden report in the May 2009 issue of the journal Biological Conservation.  While this discovery threatens the long-term survival of wolves on Isle Royale, it also heightens the importance of ensuring genetic connectivity among the three subpopulations of wolves in the Northern Rockies.


Bone Deformities Linked To Inbreeding In Isle Royale Wolves

ScienceDaily (Apr. 11, 2009) — The wolves on Isle Royale are suffering from genetically deformed bones. Scientists from Michigan Technological University blame the extreme inbreeding of the small, isolated wolf population at the island National Park in northern Lake Superior.

Posted in:  Wolf Wars, graywolf/canis lupus

Tags: wolf inbreeding,   wolves in the crossfire, genetic diversity,  ken salazar delists wolves, Wildlife Services

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