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Rare recovery of fully intact wolf carcass provides insights into Isle Royale NP population dynamics

ISLE ROYALE, MI – It was a year ago this month that a National Park Service ranger was on his last patrol of Hatchet Lake Trail, near the middle of Isle Royale, when he came upon the body of Male 183, the park’s last male island-born wolf. The dead wolf was lying on his side on the trail, looking almost like he had stretched out for a nap. But a necropsy would later show the wolf known by his shorthand identifier of M183 had been attacked by other wolves – big predators who have been brought to the island in the last few years to create new moose-hunting packs.

Crushing bites had caused internal hemorrhaging. Other injuries included cracked ribs and broken spinal vertebrae. Researchers estimated the old wolf - who for years before the newcomers arrived had been the only male wolf on the island – traveled a good distance after that attack before he laid down and died near the edge of his territory.

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