Reproduction documented on Isle Royale

Sep 15, 2020

HOUGHTON, MI--   Wolf pups have been born on Isle Royale National Park for the first time since 2014.

Images taken in late September 2019, from a remote camera show two pups likely born to wolf 014F in spring 2019, Isle Royale National Park.
Credit NPS/SUNY-ESF

Officials from the park and the State University of New York documented the arrival of at least two pups in 2019 and two litters of an unknown number of pups this year.

Seven wolves were relocated from an Ontario island and the mainland to Isle Royale in 2019. One of the females was likely pregnant. This year’s pups were bred on the island.

John Vucetich is a professor of wildlife ecology at Michigan Tech. He says the pups are excellent news because reintroduction efforts don’t always work.

“They sometimes take quite an effort to make them work, and so for these reproductions to have been documented… it’s great news. It means that there’s a very good chance that the reintroduction efforts that were made, that they – so to speak – have ‘stuck,’” he says.

Vucetich says officials will eventually be able to tell how many pups were born through genetics and testing the pups’ scat.

He notes the wolves were in a bit of a disarray at the end of 2019, but are now beginning to form packs.