how the wolves saved yellowstone: a lesson in keystone species
The first of two videos that we have for you nature lovers this morning!
Some brief and interesting context for the information presented here: wolves did not disappear from the Yellowstone landscape by incident or historical coincidence. In fact, historians say that since nearly the beginning of westward expansion by European settlers, settlers and ranchers (whose cattle were at risk of being poached) engaged in what some historians call a "war with the wolf" that culminated in the early 20th century in a governement-sponsored nation-wide "wolf control" policy. The history involves mountains of wolf carcasses, canine bounty hunters, rifles, traps, and poison-- tactics so widely supported to have included environmentalists like Teddy Roosevelt and John James Audubon. For more information on this, we recommend this piece from PBS.
Just goes to show that when it comes to the incredible fragile balance of ecosystems, we don't know what we don't know.
Interested in learning more about how these majestic canines shape the landscape of the park? There are great resources on Yellowstone's website.