The isolation of the Island has allowed the plants and animals of Isle Royale to develop different communities of species than in nearby Ontario or Minnesota. Although many of the original species of animals, such as the woodland caribou, were eliminated during European copper mining attempts, many interesting and unique relationships between plants and animals still exist today. While the best known study has centered on the relationship between Moose and Wolves, the flora and fauna of the island have served as research tools for topics ranging from ancient climate changes to the long term effects of pesticide use.

Although many of the species present before European settlement are gone forever, you can help conserve the remaining plants and animals by following a few guidelines:

  1. Don't take your pets, even if you plan on leaving them shipboard. Wolves and other wildlife are highly susceptible to diseases carried by domesticated animals.
  2. Secure food from marauding jays, foxes, red squirrels, and herring gulls. Feeding wildlife distracts them from preparing for the long winter.
  3. A camp stove should be used at all times. Burning wood depletes scarce mineral resources needed to build productive soils.


Plants and Animals of Isle Royale
Amphibians Birds Fishes
Plants Mammals Reptiles