In 1982, the wolf population suddenly crashed. The problem was a new canine virus. This virus surfaced around the world in 1978 and spread rapidly in about six months. Infected animals can survive, but they have to be treated immediately. Ecologists hypothesized that the virus arrived on the island carried on the shoe of a human traveler. The wolf population decreased from 50 to 14 individuals in a year. While the wolf population dropped, the moose population increased. However, the winter of 1996 was extremely harsh and the moose population experienced a major crash. More than 500 animals died during the winter months, reducing the population to less than 800 animals.
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