TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- Scientists say the gray wolves of Isle Royale National Park are dangerously close to extinction.
Biologists with Michigan Tech University say they counted only nine wolves on the Lake Superior island this winter, down from 16 a year ago.
It's the lowest number since scientists began monitoring the park's wolves and moose a half-century ago.
Biologists Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich say a shortage of females, inbreeding and starvation caused the crash.
Wolves migrated to Isle Royale from the mainland on an ice bridge around 1950. Peterson and Vucetich say their presence is essential to prevent moose from overbrowsing.
Park Superintendent Phyllis Green says no decision has been made whether to bring in more wolves.