on August 01, 2016
The footage bolsters the researchers' estimation earlier this year that just two wolves remained on the 200-square mile island perched in northwest Lake Superior. Two pairs of wolf tracks were spotted in the slush near Lake Eva - marking the wolf population's lowest point in the nearly 60 years that the island's wolf-moose balance has been studied by researchers.
Longtime researcher Rolf Peterson had this to say about the two wolves' family bloodlines, according to the social media post:
"While this is a male-female pair, they are also father-daughter and half siblings, having shared the same mother - another way of trying to summarize their inbred status is to point out that the female is the product of the male's mating with his own mother. The female is six years old and the male is eight."
The rollercoaster continued recently, with the nine wolves counted in 2014 dropping to three in 2015, and falling to two earlier this year. In recent years, moose have been on the increase, climbing from 1,050 to 1,250 over the past two winters.
As for evidence that the moose population is feeling safer with the decline in wolves, moose mothers appear to be having more multiple births. A trail camera last month spotted a moose with three calves in tow.