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FLORA AND FAUNA
Female Isle Royale wolves numbers higher
by Staff Writers
Houghton, Mich. (UPI) Feb 23, 2013


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The male-female balance among the population of wolves on Michigan's Isle Royale is not lopsided as previously thought, researchers say.

New DNA analysis of the wolves' scat indicates about half of the nine wolves that make up the island's population are female, rather than just one or two as previously thought, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Saturday.

The new information tends to rule out gender imbalance as the driving force behind the wolves' declining numbers on the island, the newspaper said.

National Park Service officials say the new findings gives them more time to decide whether to take the unprecedented step of introducing one or more new wolves to the island to renew the population's genetic makeup. They remain concerned, however, about the wolves' diminishing population.

"We are not seeing the courtship behavior that we would expect," Rolf Peterson, a biologist at Michigan Technical University, told the Star Tribune. "That indicates they are avoiding breeding with close relatives."

Dave Mech, a wolf biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, noted, however, some of the female wolves were born after 2011. Wolves usually don't start mating until they are at least 2 years old.

"I've been telling people not to panic," Mech said.

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FLORA AND FAUNA
Minnesota mulls wolf hunting moratorium
Minneapolis (UPI) Feb 22, 2013
A bill introduced this week in Minnesota would prohibit hunting and trapping wolves in the state for at least five years, lawmakers said. Hunting would be allowed to resume after the end of the moratorium only if population management was "deemed necessary" and other means for controlling the wolf population are explored, the bill's supporters said. "The people of Minnesota don't ... read more


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