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Fourth echelon

Three Michigan wolves are the last of their kind

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ISLE ROYALE, Mich., April 22 (UPI) -- A wolf population unique to Michigan's Isle Royale, an island in Lake Superior, is almost gone. Last time biologists checked, only three wolves remained; the youngest of which was reported to be deformed and unhealthy -- the product of inbreeding.

Open wilderness, rich with prey -- that's what all hunters are looking for. Wolves, especially, need lots of space to subsist. But mammal populations also need genetic diversity to survive. Choose a location too isolated from other wolves, and too few new genes will enter the pool.

Just as predator populations hemmed in by roads and development struggle to branch out, leading ultimately to inbreeding, so too do groups that venture too far from the general population.



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That's sad.

The wolves walked over the frozen lake some time in the 1940's and kind of got stranded there.

One did make it off the island across an ice bridge last year but was shot.

Wolf who left Isle Royale over ice died of pellet wound

Officials at Isle Royale National Park said Friday that a wolf that had left the island over the ice and had been found dead on the shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota in February died from a pellet gun wound.

A necropsy showed that the female wolf died from a pellet wound to the chest.

The wolf was found dead on Feb. 8 on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation. The wolf had been radio-collared and had been part of a long-term study between Michigan Technological University and the National Park Service.



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