Anonymous asked in EnvironmentOther - Environment · 6 years ago

Yellow Stone National Park; Wolves?

From that link above, my question is, "Why were the wolves gone\absent in the first place? Why did that had to reintroduce then again to the park?" Thanks

1 Answer

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Grey wolves were extirpated from Yellowstone National Park around about 1926.

    The history of wolves and predator management within Yellowstone is quite interesting.

    When YNP was created, there was no legal protection of wildlife, so wolves (which at this point were already hated across most of the US) were hunted and killed freely. In 1883 (YNP was created in 1872), regulations were put in place to protect wildlife, but these did not apply to most apex predators (wolves, bears etc.).

    In 1886, the US army took over the administration role of the park, and the public were no longer allowed to hunt freely. Instead, the park's administration would control these issues. However, the army did not really start exterminating wolves until 1914. In 1885, Congress created the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy which aimed to protect wildlife.

    In 1907 a programme was set up called Animal Damage Control.

    This was set up due to ranchers and farmers and the relative industries complaining about the amount of livestock they were losing due to predators.

    In 1916 when the National Park Service was created, it entitled the Secretary of the Interior to "provide in his discretion for the destruction of such animals and of such plant life as may be detrimental to the use of said parks, monuments and reservations". This was a perfect oppertunity to kill 'unwanted' predators, such as wolves.

    BASICALLY wolves were killed because they were seen as being undesirable predators not just in YNP, but across the whole continent.

    Their extirpation was due to them attacking and killing livestock, due to a lack of understanding of the importance of apex predators in an ecosystem, due to a trigger-happy culture during the time and due to the belief that wolves would destroy game for hunters.

    Wolves, living in packs, can be badly affected by the loss of just one individual, usually one of the breeding pair (wrongly called the alphas) due to various reasons. I would recommend researching the topic.

    Wolves were reintroduced into YNP in 1995 and, as your video shows, they are vital to the ecosystem, they kill relatively little livestock and some reports suggest that they are actually helping game hunters.

    Comment if you would like any other information if this isn't clear enough.

    Hope this has helped!

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