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Old 02-01-2009, 05:19 PM   #11
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If wolves lived in an area at any point and time, they are vital to the balance of the system for that area. As well, any animal, insect or plant is.

When herds of elk, buffalo or any other species like that are allowed to over populate because of a lack of predators, they are not as healthy. The wolves along with other predators, usually seek out the week and unhealthy... in turn keeping the rest of the herd healthier. Make sense?

Any time man irradiates a species from an area, for whatever reason, eventually there will be consequences. Just as often bringing in species that don't belong has consequences. The wild hogs we have in the SE US are a real problem... not native and have grown to large populations.

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Old 02-01-2009, 09:18 PM   #12
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I know that some of the wolves came from Canada for reintroduction. The wolf is the animal that I dream of seeing in the wild.
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old34 View Post
I know that some of the wolves came from Canada for reintroduction. The wolf is the animal that I dream of seeing in the wild.
31 Canadian wolves were released in Yellowstone NP. They were captured and transported from Jasper NP in Alberta, Canada for the 1995 reintroduction and fron BC for the 1996 group.
1995 - the first group consisted of 14 wolves
1996 - the second group contained 17 wolves

The attached images are of Druid and Slough Creeks wolves from Yellowstone NP. First four images are Druid Peak pack members, the last one is Slough Creek wolves.
Attached Thumbnails
Can wolves restore an ecosystem?-537463127_78ea15875f.jpg   Can wolves restore an ecosystem?-2263961096_9fa6e5704d.jpg   Can wolves restore an ecosystem?-2264258868_01aff2c066.jpg   Can wolves restore an ecosystem?-2276692659_9078286357.jpg   Can wolves restore an ecosystem?-2285893219_212fe5c8cf.jpg  

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Old 02-01-2009, 09:46 PM   #14
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Where do they get wolves for reintroduction projects? Where are there plenty to spare?
We could import wolves from Alaska or Canada ... Yellowstone used wolves from Canada for reintroduction.
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:52 PM   #15
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Although no single species or event has been attributed to a population’s response in Yellowstone, it can be clearly seen that the reintroduction of wolves has had a direct effect on coyotes. The ripple effect of wolf’s predation on elk has cascaded through the food chain, and in the case of grizzlies, has changed post hibernation behavior. Combined with the increased growth of willows, aspens and cottonwoods as an indirect result of predation, it is easily argued that the reintroduction of wolves has only enhanced the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

After 1995, elk started to avoid the lower floodplains, showing a preference to travel along and graze hillside slopes to avoid lowland wolf contact. An indirect result of the elk changing from flat to slope grazing has been an increase in cottonwood, alder and willow growth/height in riparian zones. Plants growing at low-risk predation sites since reintroduction still show a high level of grazing, resulting in growth suppression and low statue while those found in high-risk areas have had optimal growth for the surrounding climatic conditions. The return of willows and aspens, which are of importance to moose, small mammals such as beavers, and many birds, will most likely be the biggest unexpected return occurring from the reintroduction. With the uninhibited growth of the deciduous trees, the amount of leaf litter accumulating for decomposition will increase, which will have a positive effect on nutrient cycling. If the wolves had not been returned to the park, the continually heavy suppression of deciduous plants via grazing would likely have resulted in the eventual loss of these plant species from the ecosystem, with their removal leading toward the loss of other animal species which have come to depend on them...
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:16 AM   #16
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What wonderful observations and comments Dave Stiles.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:30 AM   #17
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Quote:
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What wonderful observations and comments Dave Stiles.
Thanks - I spent a few years studying wolves in college for my BA/BS. Then moved on to other carnivores of North America to round out my studies in mammalogy.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:34 AM   #18
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Very interesting stuff Dave, thanks!

I think I remember a PBS program that I watched that said something about a significant improvement in water quality and aquatic life in the streams that was also a result of the elk lifestyle changes???
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:27 AM   #19
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Sure was a change - after the 1995 wolf reintroduction, elk started to avoid lower floodplains, showing a preference for grazing and traveling along hillside slopes in order to avoid lowland wolf contact. With elk out of the riparian zone, the water quality has nowhere to go but become better...
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:07 AM   #20
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If I recall correctly the show I watched was focused on the degradation that the streams had undergone due to the overgrazing. Primarily aquatic animal life within the streams. I think they said that there were significant improvements in the populations of several native species (some threatened or endangered) after the elk left.
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