Isle Royale: A Broken Balance

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“Someday, when I am long gone, animal and plant life on Isle Royale may be so changed that wisdom will call for a different approach. But this time around, at the dawn of a new millennium, I must vote for the wolves.” (pg. 188). This statement is the final paragraph in the book “Wolves of Isle Royale: A Broken Balance” by Rolf O. Peterson. In order to understand the context of the quote by Peterson, it is crucial to understand the different aspects of Isle Royale. Wolves, moose, vegetation, birds, foxes, and ticks inhabit the landscape of Isle Royale, who all contribute to the dynamics that occur on this island. Isle Royale is a 210-square-mile area, located 15-20 miles off of the coast of Ontario in Canada, in Lake Superior (pg.11). Although…show more content…
Unfortunately, ticks are not only a pest to moose, but can also be deadly. These organisms, cling on to moose, gain nutrients by sucking a moose 's blood, lay their eggs, which then blow up into sacks resembling balloons. The sacks make a moose 's skin extremely itchy (pg. 46). Ticks hurt moose in a couple large ways. When ticks make a moose’s skin very itchy, they rub their bodies on trees and even bite at their fur to relieve the frustration (pg. 46). This can result in hair loss, which given the cold winters, makes weak, old, and young moose, very susceptible to death during winter months. In the interior, ticks sucking out a moose’s blood diminishes their bone marrow, makes them malnourished, and they suffer from major blood loss (pg. 46). A few ticks do not damage a moose themselves, rather a large amount of ticks work together to harm the animal. Peterson tells about two moose discovered on Isle Royale, which were sent in for testing. They concluded that there were about 25,000 ticks on one and 30,000 on the other, which is only around 25 percent of ticks found on moose in other places, such as Alberta, Canada (pg. 46). Ticks lead to anemia and hypothermia, which cause a large amount of deaths among the moose population on Isle Royale, but there are also sources of
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