Peregrine chick, wolf pups born at Isle Royale

Houghton, MI- Isle Royale National Park reports the births of Peregrine Chicks and Wolf Pups at the island.

In a press release, Liz Valencia,
Chief of Interpretation and Cultural Resources, for the park says, “Island animal populations are generally small with fewer species than on the surrounding mainland. Isle Royale’s biodiversity is generally lower because the islands’ isolation has restricted migration of organisms from outside populations. For example, there are approximately 19 species of mammals documented on Isle Royale, far fewer than the number of mammals on the adjacent Michigan and Minnesota mainland. Because of this isolation, births in some species with small populations are often celebrated. This summer, Isle Royale National Park had cause for celebration; both the island’s peregrine falcon and wolf populations had new additions.”

Last year marked the first time in 57 years that peregrine falcons, a state listed endangered species, nested and successfully fledged young on the island. This year that success was repeated with two chicks reared to fledging on Passage Island.

“Last year was quite a shock to find a breeding pair of falcons. This year we hoped the pair would return and we were very happy to see nesting activity”, said Chief of Natural Resources Paul Brown.

Initially there were three chicks in the nest, but over the course of the next few weeks one chick disappeared. The two remaining chicks were successfully reared. With the addition of these two new birds, the island population of peregrine falcons is currently thought to be 5-7 individuals.

Also noteworthy this summer, according to Valencia, was the birth of at least two wolf pups. For the past several years the wolf population has been slowly declining, to a historic low of 8 animals at the end of winter study in March, 2013. These new animals are welcome additions to the population, bringing the total up to at least ten animals.

“It is always exciting when we learn about successful reproduction of wildlife in the park, and the birth of two wolf pups is especially good news”, commented Superintendent Phyllis Green. “The wolves continue to surprise us with their resiliency. While we were very happy to learn about the birth of the pups, we are still concerned about the population and are in the process of evaluating options on how to deal with the population in the future.”

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