facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Female Isle Royale wolves numbers higher

Feb. 23, 2013 at 9:30 PM   |   Comments

HOUGHTON, Mich., Feb. 23 (UPI) -- 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.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Shellfish-inspired waterproof glue could help repair ships Shellfish-inspired waterproof glue could help repair ships
2
Iceland grows as Bardarbunga volcano continues to spew lava Iceland grows as Bardarbunga volcano continues to spew lava
3
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
4
Pennsylvania officials issue $4.15 million fine to fracking company Pennsylvania officials issue $4.15 million fine to fracking company
5
Latest Ebola outbreak spreading much faster than in the past Latest Ebola outbreak spreading much faster than in the past
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback