Park revises 2012 Isle Royale female wolf total

Isle Royale wolves prepare to attack a bull moose
In this photo provided by Michigan Tech University, the Chippewa Harbor wolf pack is seen preparing to attack a bull moose, which successfully fought off the wolves and survived, on Isle Royale on Jan. 25, 2008.
AP Photo/Michigan Tech University, John Vucetich

Isle Royale National Park's gray wolves apparently don't have a gender gap after all.

Scientists reported last year that only nine wolves remained on the Lake Superior island chain -- the lowest total in more than 50 years. They said just one was known to be a female, raising doubts about the predator's long-term prospects for survival in the wilderness park.

But Superintendent Phyllis Green said Thursday that genetic analysis of wolf excrement and additional observations suggest that four or five of the animals are females.

Even so, Green says the wolves' situation remains tenuous and experts are studying how climate change may affect them.

Michigan Technological University biologists are conducting their annual winter study at Isle Royale and are expected to release updated wolf and moose numbers next month.

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