Gray Wolf

Gray Wolf

In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a law that created Yellowstone National Park. The Secretary of the Interior at the time decreed, “shall provide against the wanton destruction of the fish and game found within said Park.” By the mid 1900s, wolves were almost completely eliminated from the park. I guess other animals were protected but not the wolves because humans like to make grand decisions about nature and eco-systems. Dummies. From George Monbiot’s TED Talk:

In 1995, wolves were finally reintroduced to Yellowstone, and the effects were dramatic. The wolves brought the deer population down to a sustainable population — but more importantly, they radically changed the behavior of the remaining deer. These deer started to move more often and avoid places in the park where they could easily be trapped, which in turn grew thick with vegetation. This allowed birds and beavers to move in, and the beavers’ dams became habitats for otters, muskrats, ducks, fish, reptiles and amphibians. The wolves also killed coyotes, which allowed for more rabbits and mice, which in turn boosted the populations of weasels, hawks, foxes and badgers. Meanwhile, ravens, bald eagles and bears fed on the carrion that the wolves left. In fact, even the river patterns in the park changed: the regenerating vegetation stabilized the riverbanks, which yielded less to erosion and took on straighter water flow. ‘The wolves, small in number, transformed not just the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park—this huge area of land—but also its physical geography. . .’

In other words, thank you, Wolves, for being wolves and playing your role in the eco-system and helping to re-wild all the habitats humans seem to keep ruining.

Least Concern