Wolf and Moose Dynamics on Isle Royale

  • John A. Vucetich
  • Rolf O. Peterson

3.1 Background

Moose (Alces alces) arrived on Isle Royale in the early 1900s (Mech 1966). For 50 years moose interacted with the forest without being exposed to predation or significant human harvest. By the late-1920s the impact of moose on the forest had become noticeable and the population probably comprised between 2,000 and 3,000 moose (Murie 1934). By the mid-1930s many moose had died of malnutrition and the population declined to probably a few hundred animals (Hickie 1936).

Although there were suggestions and one attempt to introduce gray wolves (Canis lupus) to Isle Royale in the 1940s and 1950s, the attempt failed in 1952 (Mech 1966). While humans were trying to reintroduce wolves, they arrived on their own in the late 1940s by crossing an ice bridge connecting Isle Royale and Canada. Analysis of mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid (mtDNA) indicated that the population of wolves on Isle Royale was founded by a single female (Wayne et al. 1991). Since the founding event, the...


Population Growth Rate Numerical Response Kill Rate Wolf Population Moose Population 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Forest Resources and Environmental ScienceMichigan Technological UniversityUSA
  2. 2.School of Forest Resources and Environmental ScienceMichigan Technological UniversityUSA

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