Environmental Impact Statement – Isle Royale Wolves 

It is utterly astounding to me that any wolf advocate would support this cruel manipulation of wolves.

Members of a helicopter net gun trapping team use nets shot from a helicopter to capture and place radio collars on wolves in Yellowstone National Park.
The draft Environmental Impact Statement to Address the Presence of Wolves on Isle Royale (draft EIS) has been released and is available at Isle Royale Wolves.

The draft EIS describes how park resources would be affected by the no action alternative and three action alternatives that involve the introduction of wolves to the island. The draft EIS analyzes the impacts of each alternative on the island ecosystem, wilderness character, wolves and moose of Isle Royale.


Under alternative B, the National Park Service would introduce 2030 wolves to the island within the first three years.

Wolves selected for introduction would be captured using available tools ranging from helicopter netgunning, modified padded foot–traps (ie. leg hold traps), darting from a helicopter or modified snares with appropriate stops.

During initial release, carcass provisioning of natural prey may be implemented to ensure the success of initial establishment. Moose carcasses would be“harvested” on Isle Royale and not from off island to prevent the exchange of disease, parasites, or other foreign materials from the mainland to the island. The provision of carcasses may serve as a means of encouraging recently introduced wolves to stay in certain areas of the island. Additionally, carcass provisioning may be used as a strategy to contain pair-bonded individuals to one area of the island while the release of another animal or group of wolves occurs elsewhere.

Wolf introduction would occur by hard release. This entails release of individuals or groups of wolves onto the island with no time to acclimate in holding pens prior to release and without intensive support provided following release.

Moose on Isle Royale, Michigan. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Michigan Tech University, Rolf Peterson)
Bottom line: 20 to 30 wolves lives will be transformed permanently. They will be trapped, snared; darted or netted via helicopter. Many wolves will be injured, some will be gravely injured, some will live, some will die, most will be torn forever from family members. Certainly, all will be traumatized. Furthermore, harvesting (hunting) of moose in the National Park is something which I find unacceptable.

Removal of the alpha animals from a pack would cause huge upheaval, and studies show that it would almost certainly lead to the dissolution of the pack. Packs that may have been in existence for generations could literally be wiped out by the removal of perhaps just one animal (Learn more here).

Wolves may also attempt to make their way back to their own territories. Relocation of wolves in Alaska’s Denali National Park has led to them returning hundreds of miles to their previous locations. Obviously wolves reintroduced to Isle Royale would be unable to do that, but the instinct to return home could, to say the least, be troubling for them.

And what of the primary food source…As I have mentioned before, the moose population was near 2,400 individuals in 1996, but plummeted in just one year to 500 animals due to an outbreak of moose ticks and a severe winter. When moose became increasingly rare in 2006, capturing food became increasingly difficult for the wolves…“One wolf pack failed after another, with the population reduced by half. ” The 1,250 or so moose presently on Isle Royale, feeling the effects of climate change, can easily be devoured by a couple of dozen wolves and “wink out” leaving the wolves without a key and primary food source.

Because your feedback is essential to the development of the EIS, NPS is asking for your thoughtful review and comments during the 90-day comment period, which concludes on March 15, 2017. For your comments to be considered during this review period, you must submit them online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/Isrowolves or hand deliver or mail them to the park at the following address: Superintendent Phyllis Green, Isle Royale National Park, ISRO Wolves, 800 East Lakeshore Drive, Houghton, Michigan 49931-1896. Read about the alternative options here or visit the Park Service’s website: Isle Royale Wolves.

Please take the time to read the Technical Input regarding options for bringing wolves to Isle Royale National Park, particularly page 16: If the current population of wolves on Isle Royale persists to the time of reintroducing new wolves, are there concerns with these wolves passing on deleterious traits (e.g., spinal malformations) to the introduced population? Should members of the current resident population of wolves be removed from the island before the introduction of new wolves due to their poor genetic health? What are the pros and cons of retaining these wolves or removing these wolves?

Below please find a video of a wolf capture via net-gunning. Certainly this should suffice as an example of the misery and suffering during wildlife helicopter capture.

Related content:

Wolves of Isle Royale: Genetic Rescue or Sacrificial Lamb

My Name is Rolf

With wolves its all about family.

Needless to say that I am completely against this displacement of wolves and have selected Alternative A – No Action
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