Prompted by the recent deaths of two wolves intended to help re-populate Isle Royale, the Minnesota group Howling for Wolves is urging the National Park Service to instead transplant already-captive wolves to the island just off Grand Portage. Doctor Maureen Hackett says it would give captive wolves a chance for freedom. “But this time they’re taking wild wolves that are free and living successfully and transplanting them to live in a whole different environment without their pack,” she says.
Doctor Maureen Hackett says the female wolf who died during the transport process probably had a litter last spring and now her pups are in danger. As for the male wolf who died after being transplanted to Isle Royale, Hackett says, “The wolf is a very social animal,… have to have emotions, have to have attachments and bonds,… and so it’s possible that that wolf could have died of a broken heart.”
Hackett says transplanting captive wolves is a win-win that repays them for their ecological service and avoids harming wild wolves.