Isle Royal wolf-moose study may end after 60 years, researchers turn to GoFundMe

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The famed Isle Royale wolf-moose study might miss its first season after 60 years of continuous research.

Another victim of the country's longest government shutdown, because researchers were left without funding during the month of January, they missed the date to start research.

"It cost us not just the science, but money as well," said Rolf Peterson, a co-leader on the study. "It should have been spent more productively."

The lack of funding put two research projects on hold that were planned for the winter: A study from Ontario looking at the reintroduction of wolves on the island, as well as the continuous one looking at population numbers of wolves, moose and the predation rate between the two on the island.

However, reserachers are looking to salvage the projects by way of private funding. After receiving permission from the National Park Service, the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation pledged to secure money for the project. A GoFundMe was established over the weekend with the goal of raising $50,000 for the project to continue.

So far, more than $7,000 has been raised.

Because new wolves were reintroduced on the island in 2018, Peterson said this is a particularly important year to conduct the study.

"This is a pivotol year," said the Michigan Tech University professor. "...three new females now and hopes for several more from Ontario this winter."

Prior to their reintroduction, the wolf count had dwindled into the single digits, due to inbreeding. Because the moose population has been without predators for sometime now, Peterson said researchers expect a lot of hunting to be going on, with moose populations falling.

"The study has been threatened before, but we've never had a shutdown in January," he said.

Due to the inclement weather this week, Peterson said he hopes to get back out to the island by next week.