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How Wolves Saved Yellowstone

In 1995 14 wolves were reintroduced toYellowstone National Park from there those 14 wolves basically saved theentire parks collapsing ecosystem let's talk about that don't forget tosubscribe so you never miss an upload and let's jump in on March 1st 1872president ulysses s grant signed the National Park Protection Act

into lawcreating the first National Park Yellowstone the goal of creating theNational Park was to preserve the natural landscape and wildlife forgenerations to come the creation of Yellowstone protected most of the nativespecies but it didn't provide protection for most of the Predators like thewolves as a result by 1926

all the northern Rocky Mountain wolf packs hadbeen hunted to extinction although reports of single wolf sightingscontinued they weren't enough to hold a wolf's prey at bay by the mid 20thcentury the deer and elk populations increased substantially resulting inover grazing particularly of the Willows and other vegetarian important to

soiland riverbank structure leading to heavy erosion as a top predator wolves wereone of Yellowstone's linchpins holding together the delicate balance betweenpredator and prey the removal in the early 20th century disrupted food websand set up something called a trophic cascade the Wolves natural predators inthis case the elk multiplied

all while consuming increasing amounts of foliagethis hurt the species that relied on that vegetation like the birds whonested in the trees and the beavers who use the Willows to create their dams andwithout the beaver dams hundreds of native fish species started to declineand as the fish declined so

did the animals that fed on them like the foxesand bears but removing a single species a cascade of negative effects propagatedoutward throughout the ecosystem in 1974 the Great Wolf was officially recognizedas endangered and so recovery efforts were mandated under the EndangeredSpecies Act the very next year the long

process to restore wolves to Yellowstonebegan but for a long time problems were evident the program lacked both thenecessary funding and any meaningful willpower to get itdespite the fact that legally restoration was supposed to begin in1975 Congress only got around through appropriating funding in 1991 only abouttwo decades later

which by today's standards might actually be a fast paceafter receiving more than 160,000 public comments the most of any federalproposal at the time 31 gray wolves were drugged and abducted or relocated asconservationists like to call it from Canada to Yellowstone when wolves werebrought back to the park they

finally killed the overabundance of elk the outpopulations decreased for more than 15,000 in the early 90s to about 6,000last year and not only did their numbers dwindle but the wolves mere presence wasenough to change the Elks behavior they started to avoid Yellowstone's valleysand gorges where they could easily

be hunted by the newly introduced wolves asa result those areas began to recover and by 2006 some aspen trees had growntall enough to where they were too big to be eaten by the alka these growntrees rented a habitat that allowed for greater diversity and abundance of birdspecies like

yellow throats warbling burros and song sparrows that werefinally able to nest again and with the increase in wooded area beavers wereable to return the number of beaver colonies in the park increased from 1 in1996 to 12 in 2009 allowing for an explosive growth in fish wildlife itmight sound

a little strange that beaver dams helped fish populations but byrising the water level and calming the stream they make it easier for fish tohang out and reproduce for reference Wyoming streams with beaver ponds haveabout 75 times more abundant water life than those without and withoutherbivores eating so much

vegetation plant life along the riverbanks onceagain thrived and erosion decreased significantly the stabilization of theseriver banks even made the rivers change course with the reintroduction of just asmall population of wolves the landscape of the whole park was transformed whilethese transformations have been undoubtedly beneficial at preservingYellowstone's ecosystem for

future generations this might not be set tolast in 2018 Congress added a record number of anti wolf measures to theappropriation bills left the Department of the Interior thatgoverned the nation's parks these measures were blocked protections in theEndangered Species Act from applying to a variety of wolf populations and

wouldlikely lead to them being hunted once again in 2015 it was estimated thatthere were about 500 wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem that meansthat after only a few years of hunting they could be brought back to extinctionthat's one of the difficulties with conservation it can take decades to

savean ecosystem but only a few years to destroy it if we don't act fast wolvescould once again be subject to the same hostile extermination practices thatpush them to the brink of extinction but hopefully they'll be howling at the moonfor years to come I hope you enjoyed getting smarter

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