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Monday, May 29, 2017

Yellowstone's Ecosystem and Wolves

Above, a wolf in Lamar Valley. Wikipedia photo.

When my daughter Amber and I visited Yellowstone National Park two years ago, we managed to see elk, bears and other animals. But we didn't see any wolves even though they're there.

The Plaid Zebra has an article on how the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park "saved" the park. I don't know about "saving" the park, but they did much to restore the ecosystem within it.

They began their article with:
Walking through Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming you’ll be happy to see an abundance of willow and aspen trees and hear the melodies of song-birds, a very different impression than that of 20 years ago. This change in the park’s ecosystem is due in part to the restoration of wolves in the area that has rejuvenated the environment. 
By the 1930s people had killed off all the wolves in the park. Wolves were seen as competitors in the hunting of elk so killing off the population was done in part to make human survival easier. It was also done during a time where the euro-centric public discourse favoured civility, of which the wolf represented the opposite. 
Then, due to a changing attitude toward the environment in the 1970s and the creation of the Endangered Species Act, there began a movement to bring back wolves to the area. Finally after much consideration and public debate in 1995, 41 wolves were taken from areas in western Canada, tagged, and transported to Yellowstone National Park over a period of three years. Once taken to the park the new wolves were hesitant to leave their cages, now 20 years later the population has reached its carrying capacity of around 100 wolves.
To read more, go here

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