A healthy ecosystem needs balance. Introducing an animal that doesn’t fit into the system could be detrimental and result in havoc. At the same time, if you have too much of one thing, it can throw the whole system off, and, in some instances, result in the extinction of a species.
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And sometimes it takes human intervention to try to restore order to a damaged ecosystem. For example, recently a pack of Canadian wolves was captured and relocated to a 2,300-square-kilometer island that was suffering from a moose overpopulation for decades. According to IFL Science, the number of wolves became practically extinct on this Michigan island quite some time ago.
In an effort to help reduce the moose population, Wildlife specialists at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) captured three males and one female wolf. The quadruplet was airdropped onto Isle Royale National Park.
These wolves have a mission other than hunting down moose. The group also needs to join up with a pair of wolves that were already reintroduced to the area this time last year. Four wolves were previously introduced to this area last year, but one of them died and the other reportedly migrated to a different area during the polar vortex in early February.
The moose population on the island is estimated to be around 1,500. One of the main concerns is that the moose eat a majority of the vegetation on the island, causing other herbivores there to suffer. If this continues, the entire herbivore population will eventually run out of vegetation and starve to death.
According to the park’s natural resources division chief, Mark Romanski, the wolves seem to be catching on quickly. “I am … blown away by the resilience of these wolves, who within hours after undergoing capture and handling and arriving on Isle Royale, immediately got on the trail of their pack mates.”
The wolves catching on quickly was pivotal to their success. John Vucetich, an ecologist who leads Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale project, explained: “You don’t get to choose the wolf you trap, It could be old, young, or injured when captured.”
Over the next years, there are plans to gradually introduce more wolves to the surrounding area to help the ecosystem there thrive.
Check out the short video below: