The wolves were observed by a team of scientists from the Michigan Technological University who was conducting an annual Winter Study.
The experts are worried by the massive decline of wolf population in the region, especially since last winter there were nine animals observed alive.
The researchers’ recent report marks 57 years since the project of observing the moose and the wolf population in the Isle Royale first began.
According to the researchers, this is actually the longest-running study of the relation between predator and prey ever conducted.
This year, the scientists estimate that there are approximately 1,250 moose living on the Isle Royale island. They also spotted three local wolves and two that were just visiting the area.
This is not the first time the researchers notice a growing gap between the populations of predators and prey. According to them, the Michigan Tech wildlife experts took notice of this discrepancy almost four years ago.
John Vucetich, associate professor of wildlife ecology and one of the lead researchers, explained that what worries them the most is not the actual presence of the wolves, but rather if they are doing their ecological duties.
The researchers said that in order to understand the wolves that live in the Isle Royale, one need to be aware of their genetic history.
The wolf population has been greatly affected by inbreeding, which is why there are only three wolves remaining in the national park.
The remaining group consists of two adults and a young pup that is approximately nine month old. The experts believe that the young wolf could be the offspring of the other two.
The researchers who have studied the wolves for some time say that the young pup does not seem to be in a healthy condition. It appears to have a deformed tail, a hunched posture and a very narrow waistline.
Vucetich said that from what they’ve observed, the young wolf might not survive another year.
The wolf population living in the Isle Royale National Park started to decrease in 2009, when there were 24 wolves alive. Their population declined by almost 88% in the last 5 years.
The wildlife experts believe the reason for this massive decimation is inbreeding.
According to the researchers, even if the two adult wolves are a mating pair, the young one would not do well.
Image Source: parkadvocate