The voices of those both for and against human intervention
The Detroit Free Press newspaper (online version), which often covers Great Lakes issues, explores the topic of wolves and Isle Royale in a film recently posted to its site. The March 13th Free Press edition includes an award winning 37 min video by Brian Kaufman. In summer 2015 Kaufman spent several weeks on Isle Royale hiking and filming. The film was first shown to a sold-out crowd at the Detroit Film Festival in 2016, and it has won two awards.
In addition to Isle Royale National Park Superintendent Phyllis Green, several wolf and ecological experts are interviewed including John Vucetich of Houghton’s Michigan Technological University (MTU), Rolf Peterson, also of MTU, his wife Carolyn Peterson, listed as wolf and moose “research volunteer” and Marvin Robinson of the Sierra Club.
In essence, the film puts forward the voices of those people both for, and against, human intervention in the Isle Royale wolf/moose equation. On both sides, these voices are very passionate and the film is an excellent means of exploring the topic of human “interventions” in the natural world.
[A recent Infosuperior article about caribou, linked below, also has some valuable thoughts about interventions. The article notes that intervention for economic gain is often accepted, while intervention to assist rehabilitation of a specific species, or ecosystem, may be rejected.]
Podcast questions whether interventions are done for wolves, or people
A thought provoking 55 min podcast by Brad Badelt on the CBC radio program “Ideas” also takes an in-depth look at the topic of wolves and Isle Royale. Entitled “Guardians vs. Gardeners,” the audio documentary explores the philosophy behind relocating wolves to Isle Royale. The podcast details the introduction of wolves to Lake Superior’s largest island decades ago, examines a related National Geographic article and raises questions about inbreeding. The podcast also questions whether interventions are done for the wolves and the ecosystem, or for ourselves. Leading environmental thinkers and wolf experts have their say.
Four wolves were moved from Wawa, Ontario to Isle Royale this winter
The podcast and film were posted just as another Isle Royale wolf relocation was completed this winter. Four wolves were recently moved to Isle Royale and an excellent CBC article written by Gord Ellis provides an overview of this effort.
The wolves are from the Wawa, Ontario area on the Canadian side of Lake Superior. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the U.S National Parks Service cooperated to move the wolves. A representative of Michipicoten First Nation, near Wawa, participated in the capture effort.
A similar effort last year relocated four Minnesota wolves to Isle Royale but only two of these wolves remain on the island. This is in addition to two other wolves (a father and daughter) which remain from an earlier, larger population. In short, four wolves were on Isle Royale before this winter’s relocation effort was carried out. The Canadian wolves double the population, which now stands at eight.
According to the CBC article, the additional wolves will increase genetic diversity and will also assist in controlling the moose population (approximately 1500 animals).
March 4, 2019 Infosuperior Article: Lake Superior’s Iconic Caribou Population: Back from the Brink?
March 15th, 2019 MPR News Story – Take Wolves Off the Endangered Species List?
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