ISLE ROYALE NATIONAL PARK, MI-- One of the wolves transported to Isle Royale National Park in February has died.
The National Park Service says in late March it received a mortality signal from a black-coated male trapped in Ontario, Canada. Personnel had to wait until the park reopened for the 2019 season to investigate.
Using GPS, officials traveled five miles into a swamp to retrieve the carcass. Investigators found no apparent signs of injury or struggle. But the carcass was in a very deteriorated state due to melting snow and wet conditions, making an accurate cause of death determination impossible.
The annual mortality rate of wild wolves in the Upper Peninsula is about 25 percent. Officials say they’re disappointed about the mortality and frustrated they can’t accurately determine the cause of death.
There are now 14 wolves on Isle Royale. Twelve were brought in from Minnesota and Canada and two were on the island before wolf reintroduction efforts.
The NPS says the wolves are forming loose associations with each other, but it’s too early to tell if it’s an actual pack.