Isle Royale moose population surges during wolf decline

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Moose are thriving at Isle Royale National Park, but many trees are paying a heavy price.

A report released Tuesday estimates there are 2,060 moose at the wilderness park in northwestern Lake Superior. That’s the highest number since 1995, when the population exceeded 2,400. The population fell to about 500 over the next two years because of harsh winters and a shortage of food.

One reason for the moose boom is the near disappearance of the wolves that prey on them. For several years, only two remained. But officials began relocating wolves from the mainland to the park last fall, and they now total 15.

Michigan Technological University scientist Rolf Peterson says balsam fir trees are in bad shape on the island’s western side because moose feast on them.

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