Mankind  in their journey to  control and  develop as far as  the eye can see have played a  significant  role  in the changes  that  have  taken place in our  environment.  The construction and restructuring  of  forests  and  natural habitats.  The  eradication  of  native wildlife species  in the never  ending  expansion of  commercial food  production and land development.

  These  pursuits have endangered  many  species having been labeled  as  pests in their  eyes.  Some  have  been  eradicated  to the  brink of  extinction.  Others  have  required protection as  endangered.   Others still have had t heir  populations  explode for lack of  natural  predators.  Forcing culls  to  be organized to  keep  their  numbers in  check.

Mankind knew  what they  wanted  to  achieve  However, they  had  no understanding  of  what changes  and  perils  they were manifesting  on the natural balance  of  our world.  One  such  member  of  the  animal  kingdom are  wolves.  Hunted  and  repudiated  as  a dangerous  nuisance.  They  have helped  mankind understand  that they are so much  more  than  that.

                           Joel Sartore/National Geographic     A portrait of the Yellowstone gray wolf.

After  70 years  these  beautiful creatures  were re-introduced  to the  Yellowstone National Park area and the  changes  that  have  taken  place since   then  have been  amazing.  The  wolves have shown their  true  worth as  well as  the  complicated web  of  life  that we  had  not been able to  see in  our  quest to  tame a natural habitat .  They  have  taught  us  that the intricacies of the  natural web of  life  requires a  balance  that  man  should not  tamper with.  We as  human  beings consider  ourselves  superior to the  other  members  of  the  animal  kingdom.  However, we  must  understand  that  we  are  simply a  link in the  chain  of  the  intricate  web  of  life that exists on our  planet.

Providing  balance  where  none  had  been.  Creating  diversity to provide  a balanced habitat  for all  wildlife.  The  wolves  have  proven themselves  to  be the  “Ultimate Eco-Engineers”.

(C)   ~Desert Rose~

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World News How wolves can alter the course of rivers

worldnews422 worldnews422

Published on Feb 20, 2014

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers.When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers.When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers.When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers. How wolves can alter the course of rivers How wolves can alter the course of rivers How wolves can alter the course of rivers
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers.When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers.When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers. How wolves can alter the course of rivers How wolves can alter the course of rivers How wolves can alter the course of rivers
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers.When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers.When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers. How wolves can alter the course of rivers How wolves can alter the course of rivers How wolves can alter the course of rivers How wolves can alter the course of rivers How wolves can alter the course of rivers How wolves can alter the course of riversWhen wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers.When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers.When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers.When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix titled, How Wolves Change Rivers.When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred

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The New York Times

Hunting Habits of Wolves Change Ecological Balance in Yellowstone

Anne Sherwood for The New York Times

CHANGES IN THE WILD Douglas W. Smith using radio tracking equipment, above, to try to find the Leopold Wolf Pack along Blacktail Deer Creek in Yellowstone in September.

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. – Hiking along the small, purling Blacktail Deer Creek, Douglas W. Smith, a wolf biologist, makes his way through a lush curtain of willows.

Forum: Wildlife

Joel Sartore/National Geographic

A portrait of the Yellowstone gray wolf.

Nearly absent for decades, willows have roared back to life in Yellowstone, and the reason, Mr. Smith believes, is that 10 years after wolves were introduced to Yellowstone, the park is full of them, dispersed across 13 packs.

He says the wolves have changed the park’s ecology in many ways; for one, they have scared the elk to high ground and away from browsing on every willow shoot by rivers and streams.

“Wolves have caused a trophic cascade,” he said.

“Wolves are at the top of it all here. They change the conditions for everyone else, including willows.”

The last 10 years in Yellowstone have re-written the book on wolf biology. Wildlife biologists and ecologists are stunned by the changes they have seen.

It is a rare chance to understand in detail how the effects of an “apex predator” ripple through an ecosystem. Much of what has taken place is recounted in the recently released book “Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone,” by Mr. Smith and Gary Ferguson. (Mr. Smith will discuss the effects at 7 tonight in the Linder Theater at the American Museum of Natural History. Admission is $15.)

In 1995, 14 wolves from Canada were brought into the park by truck and sleigh in the dead of winter, held in a cage for 10 weeks and released. Seventeen were added in 1996. Now, about 130 wolves in 13 packs roam the park.

Yellowstone, says Mr. Smith, is full.

Over the next 10 years, elk numbers dropped considerably. One of the world’s largest elk herds, which feeds on rich grasses on the northern range of the park, dropped from 19,000 in 1994 to about 11,000. Wolf reintroduction has been cited as the culprit by hunters, but Mr. Smith says the cause is more complex.

Data recently released after three years of study by the Park Service, the United States Geological Survey and the University of Minnesota found that 53 percent of elk deaths were caused by grizzly bears that eat calves. Just 13 percent were linked to wolves and 11 percent to coyotes. Drought also playing a role. The study is continuing.

Scientists do say that wolf predation has been significant enough to redistribute the elk. That has in turn affected vegetation and a variety of wildlife.

The elk had not seen wolves since the 1920’s when they disappeared from the park. Over the last 10 years, as they have been hunted by wolf packs, they have grown more vigilant.

They move more than they used to, and spend most of their time in places that afford a 360-degree view, said Mr. Smith. They do not spend time in places where they do not feel secure – near a rise or a bluff, places that could conceal wolves.

In those places willow thickets, and cottonwoods have bounced back. Aspen stands are also being rejuvenated. Until recently the only cottonwood trees in the park were 70 to 100 years old. Now large numbers of saplings are sprouting.

William Ripple, a professor of botany at Oregon State University, calls the process the “ecology of fear,” which has allowed the vegetation to thrive as a result of behavioral changes in the newly skittish and peripatetic elk.

Though the changes now are on a fairly small scale, the effects of the wolves will spread, and in 30 years, according to Mr. Smith, Yellowstone will look very different.

Not everyone is convinced. “Wolves have a role to play,” said Robert Crabtree, a canid biologist who has researched wolves and coyotes in the park since the late 1980’s. “But the research has ignored climate change and flooding, which have also had an effect on vegetation. Their work isn’t wrong, but it’s incomplete.”

Read More Here

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Minnesota’s wolves needed for ecological balance

  • Article by: MAUREEN HACKETT
  • Updated: September 8, 2013 – 9:27 PM

A recreational hunt doesn’t follow the DNR’s stated management plans.

The recent article, “Despite wins, Minnesota’s endangered species list up by 180” (Aug. 20, 2013) quotes the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) endangered species coordinator as stating, “We’ve got to learn how to manage species on a larger scale.”

The state’s list of species that have gone extinct and of those that are endangered and threatening to go extinct has grown tremendously.

One of the first steps in the large-scale management referred to by the DNR is to keep in place the vital assets already provided by nature. This is particularly relevant to the Minnesota wolf population.

A Romanian proverb says, “Where wolves roam, forests grow.” Having wolves on our landscapes and ecologically active is vital to maintaining the natural balance for all wildlife.

There is ample science and thinking that supports this management strategy, and innovative new ways to reduce wolf conflicts with livestock, including nonlethal methods (only 2 percent of the Minnesota farms in wolf country have experienced wolf problems with livestock).

As far back as the 1920s and ’30s, University of Wisconsin scientist, ecologist, forester and environmentalist Aldo Leopold established visionary wildlife management theories that rightfully viewed wildlife issues within the greater ecological system of nature.

In 1949, he proposed that a natural predator such as the wolf has a major residual impact on plants; river and stream bank erosion; fish and fowl; water quality; and on other animals. In other words, the wolf is a keystone species.

Leopold’s trophic cascade concept articulated emphatically that killing a predator wolf carries serious implications for the rest of the ecosystem. Later, that concept was endorsed by former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.

The natural benefits of wolves to our complex landscapes is still not fully understood. What is known is that:

• The presence of wolves helps plants and tree growth by affecting the browsing behavior of deer, especially along stream and river banks.

Read More Here

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Bloomberg

Murder of Yellowstone Wolves Threatens Area Renaissance

Photographer: Marc Cooke/Wolves of the Rockies via Bloomberg

Two wolves passing through Lamar Valley at Yellowstone National Park. According to Marc Cooke, president of Wolves in… Read More

By Mike Di Paola Sep 2, 2013 11:01 PM CT

The air in Yellowstone National Park is chilly at the crack of dawn, even in August. If you want to see a wolf, you get up early and shiver.

“It’s more difficult right now to spot a wolf,” says Marc Cooke, president of Wolves of the Rockies. He means both the time of year — wolves are less active in summer — and the recent decline in wolf numbers, which he attributes to “the devastating impact from the needless trapping and hunting season.”

At last count there were 95 wolves in the park, traveling in 11 packs. A few years ago there were almost twice as many. Part of the decline is due to the natural ebb and flow of ecological systems, but hunters can legally shoot wolves when they stray outside the park into Wyoming, Montana or Idaho, even if they’re wearing radio collars.

Just last week, a collar-wearing female wolf that had killed a chicken was shot by a resident of Jardine, Montana.

As tenuous as the population is, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to delist the species, which is currently designated as “endangered” or “threatened” in most of the lower 48 states. The wolf would still be protected in Yellowstone, but would be at the mercy of bloodthirsty types just outside the park when the hunting season opens in September.

After a couple days, I finally catch the briefest glimpse of a pair of black wolves, loping over a rise and out of sight in the park’s stunning Lamar Valley. Though I’m looking through a spotting scope and the wolves are more than a mile off, the scene takes my breath away.

Wolf Renaissance

As an apex predator, wolves are essential to an ecosystem’s health. Soon after reintroduction to Yellowstone in 1995, wolves helped cull the overpopulated elk herds. This led to a rejuvenation of verdant ground cover that the elk had been mowing down, which in turn attracted animals that rely on low foliage for cover and food.

Yellowstone wolves are undoubtedly responsible for a renaissance of songbird and beaver populations and a lot more.

“You could argue that they’ve affected everything through the system,” says wolf biologist Doug Smith, Yellowstone’s longtime wolf project leader. “Wolves have been good for fish, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.”

Wolves are even good for another top predator, the grizzly bear, which feeds on berries that bounced back with the reappearance of wolves.

“We’ve got the most predators, or carnivores, in Yellowstone in the park’s entire history,” says Smith. “Arguably, Yellowstone is as pristine as it’s been in its entire history.”

Read More Here

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NPR

Wolves At The Door

Can two top predators coexist in the American West?

This is a story about wolves and people

This is a story about wolves and people

It’s a story about what we have in common — we’re social, adaptable and fiercely territorial. It’s also a story about whether we can get along.

It's also a story about whether we can get along

People have been fascinated with wolves for millennia. They show up in our folklore and in our fairy tales. Today, in much of the American West, gray wolves also show up in our politics. I know this because I grew up in Montana, where wolves can be as important and divisive a topic as gun control or health care.

A few decades ago, wolves had been hunted, trapped and poisoned — down to a population of about 50 in the contiguous United States. Then, in the mid-1990s, the federal government decided to bring them back, introducing 66 Canadian gray wolves into Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. They became “the environmental movement poster animal,” says Doug Smith, head of the Yellowstone Wolf Project, a group that monitors and studies wolves in Yellowstone National Park.

See Full Presentation  Here

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