HOUGHTON, MICH – During a narrow weather window between storms last week, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) successfully transferred four wolves to Isle Royale National Park. Earlier this winter, severe weather on both sides of the border hampered the ability to capture and transfer wolves. However, NPS staff worked diligently with ONMRF and over the course of four days successfully translocated Canadian wolves. Two mainland wolves, one female and one male from the same pack and both with a black coat colour variation, were captured on crown land near Wawa, Ontario, and transferred to Isle Royale. The weather cleared long enough on Thursday to provide an opportunity to access Michipicoten Island Provincial Park, where two males were captured.
All the wolves were captured using OMNRF aircraft. The operation was coordinated by Kevin Middel, OMNRF, and Brent Patterson, OMNRF researcher and Trent University adjunct professor. Two National Park Service veterinarians, Michelle Verant and Jenny Powers along with Graham Crawshaw, an OMNRF veterinarian, supported the project to ensure animal welfare and assess the health of the wolves to be transferred. Two veterinarians completed health assessments in Wawa and one veterinarian received the wolves on Isle Royale to ensure they were fit for release. All four wolves were evaluated based on expectations for winter body conditions and deemed healthy enough for transfer and release.
The first Canadian wolf, a 65-pound female, arrived at Isle Royale on Tuesday afternoon. The next day, OMNRF successfully captured a large 92 pound male from the same pack. He was held for evaluation and transported to Isle Royale and released on Thursday. The clear skies on Thursday finally allowed OMNRF to reach Michipicoten Island Provincial Park.