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Topic: MPR: Isle Royale wolf dilemna< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 20 2013, 5:47 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display....-wolves
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 20 2013, 8:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for posting that, I agree that vigorous debate is absolutely necessary before deciding on a course of action.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 20 2013, 9:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WiscoHiker @ Jun. 20 2013, 7:55 pm)
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Thanks for posting that, I agree that vigorous debate is absolutely necessary before deciding on a course of action.

I would have liked to attend the forum,  a friend is going and will report on the outcome.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 20 2013, 10:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'll be looking forward to the report.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 21 2013, 8:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Informal report from last night:

I just returned from the discussion; it's always relieving to watch scientists, vs politicians, have a discussion/debate. Very unemotional, fact based topics, and that translated to the audience, as well.

There were four panelists, each with different perspectives. I'll provide a personal synopsis of their points:
Kevin Proescholdt, conservation director for Wilderness Watch, argued for the position that we shouldn't mettle in wilderness areas. The perspective of "Being guardians, not gardeners" was the direction. A pretty "humans don't touch" concept.

Dr. Dave Mech advocated to wait and see, indicating he didn't think the book was closed just yet on wolves. He cited compelling evidence that a lack of pups could be an entirely age related scenario, and that the genetic spinal issue is only occurring at a slightly higher rate than mainland wolves in the Upper Great Lakes region, and it's been happening to IR wolves for a long time, so it might not be as big of issue as others think it might be.

Dr. Rolf Peterson was perhaps the lone panelist urging introducing a small genetic sample (perhaps only two male wolves, for instance) to revitalize the pack(s). He noted how M93 (the male that crossed in 93) had his genetic fingerprint work rapidly through the wolves of IR, revitalizing them in a time of need. His argument transcended just wolves, and concern of overbrowsing of moose left unpredated would eliminate certain tree species.

Perhaps the most interesting perspective (to me, at least) was from Dr. Tim Cochrane, who is now the Supt of Grand Portage Natl Monument, and has worked on Isle Royale, as well as authoring several books on it's history. He noted that every small island ecosystem often has species, especially larger mammals, 'wink out' over time, and others come in, on and on, and that this is just what we should expect and island like this to do, and it's not surprising in the least that wolves may soon be extirpated. He noted that moose/wolf is, historically, a very recent addition to IR, and that if we wanted the longest species pair it probably would be Caribou/Lynx, and so we need to keep that in consideration if we're going to reintroduce anything - The 'why this, why now, why not that' question.

Overall, it was just intended to start to help inform the public of what a complex decision this can be, and what some of the many variables are. I'd guessing around 100 folks where in attendance. Supt Green did indicate that the NPS system is also looking at the bigger science picture, somewhat with climate change, and as to the policy they should take. If any decision is moved toward, they would have a public comment period, and I'm sure more listening/informational sessions.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 21 2013, 9:02 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Additional info from the Forum:

Dr. Jeff Corney at the Cedar Creek Science Reserve, he presents great evidence that even in the past 60 years, our biomes have shifted a fair amount. It's possible that within a hundred years or so, Isle Royale won't support the boreal/tiaga forest it does now, and moose/wolves might not be the best fit, either, and will naturally extirpate.
As Dr Mech addressed in his opening comments (I'm paraphrasing), "we need to have a discussion where we're disagreeing about this, because then we'll ultimately come to the best decision. History is fully of science making bad decisions when everyone was in agreement, so nobody considered the other possibilites."
There is a strong NPS interest in this, as the wolves of Isle Royale aren't the only NPS park species that has a similar concern, just a very visible one. However, the decision here will help direct future decisions elsewhere, as to what hand humans take.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 22 2013, 7:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great write-up, thanks.

I agree with the hands-off approach for the most part.  However, after a period of wait-and-see, the "correct" approach might become apparent, and that could include letting the wolf population disappear.  If wolves were meant to live on the island, they will either rebound before disappearing, or they will be naturally reintroduced over time.

There is one other issue that hasn't been mentioned in this thread, but someone on this forum mentioned it to me a while back -- if it's man's fault that the wolf population is dwindling, then do we have the responsibility to make sure they don't die off?  

Another, and related issue, is whether man is simply a part of nature and whatever we do, so long as it's done responsibly (whatever that means), is simply nature taking its course and we should leave it alone.  I don't subscribe to this theory/position in its basest form, but it's worth pondering for a moment before making the assumption that if man somehow caused the current "problem," then man should "fix" it.

I am very pleased to hear that this issue is being taken seriously and have every reason to believe that those who are much smarter than I will come up with the proper course of action/inaction.

Thanks again for posting this.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 12 2013, 9:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks John, now I want to visit an island with a lynx/caribou population.   :)

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 12 2013, 10:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ecocentric @ Jul. 12 2013, 8:36 am)
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Thanks John, now I want to visit an island with a lynx/caribou population. :)

We went to the Slate Islands in Canada a few years ago to see caribou. They have the greatest number of caribou for the area anywhere. Cool to see them up close and personal.
No lynx though. Occasionally wolves have made the crossing but have dissappeared under suspicious circumstances.
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