1. Isle Royale wolves may go extinct. I’ve been following the New York Times blog Scientist at Work, which has featured one of the scientists who’ve spent seven weeks this winter on Isle Royale studying the wolves and their interactions with the moose herd there (here’s the last post for winter 2012). The AP article above is the most unrestrained I’ve seen them be about the wolf numbers, which dropped from 24 in 2009 to 9 now. The island hasn’t always had wolves, or moose either. In fact, both migrated to Isle Royale in the 20th century, first moose, then wolves about fifty years later. Still the question of whether humans should intervene, and how, is being asked.
2. The Wisconsin state assembly has passed a bill establishing a wolf hunting season in the state, a mere two months after the gray wolf was delisted from the Endangered Species List in the Great Lakes states. The bill is with Governor Scott Walker for his signature. In the assembly it received bipartisan support. Native American tribes have spoken out against the hunt on moral and spiritual grounds. Since reservations comprise much of the land of northern Wisconsin, there is speculation that might make some kind of difference, though it certainly didn’t hold weight with the assembly. At present there are about 800 wolves thought to be in Wisconsin