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Continued: Feb. 22: Family ties foiling Isle Royale wolves?

They didn’t. That day, at least, they backed off, leaving her bleeding on the ice.

“Mercy or torture?” Vucetich wondered.

But they appear to have it in for her, the researchers said, because days later they had her trapped on an icy ridge above the lake. Again, they backed off.Isabelle may have left her pack in order to find a mate and start her own pack, generating deadly competition for the right to reproduce.

“The motivation that drove Isabelle’s assailant is simple — to eliminate a female who might steal a mate or raise pups,” he wrote. What they don’t know, he said, “is that Isabelle’s reproductive future was very much in doubt before this attack.”

Josephine Marcotty • 612-673-7394

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  • FILE - In this undated photo provided by Jayne Belsky via the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, is a gray wolf in a wooded area near Wisconsin Dells, Wis. After months of contentious debate, Wisconsin’s first organized wolf hunt is finally set to begin. The hunt officially begins Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 and will run through February. (AP Photo/Jayne Belsky via the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, File)

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