Wolves were once the top predator in America’s world-famous Yellowstone National Park. In 1920s, they were eradicated from the park for more than next 70 years. As a result, the park’s entire ecosystem changed. But in 1995, the wolves were reintroduced and started living in the Yellowstone National Park. According to ecologists, the return of wolves have a dramatic impact upon the entire Yellowstone National Park.
After the return of wolves into the Yellowstone National Park, biologists got a big and unique opportunity to study what happens when a top predator returns to an ecosystem. They wolves were brought in to manage the rising elk population, which had been overgrazing much of the park, but their effect went far beyond that.
According to ecologists William Ripple and Robert Beschta of Oregon State University, the wolves have dramatically changed the entire Yellowstone National Park. On the other side, scientist Dr M Sanjayan, Dr Valerie Kapos of the UN Environment Program and animal behaviorist Kirsty Peake have described how the returning wolves dramatically changed the park’s rivers, forests – and the landscape itself.
Ripple has said, “We are at the beginning of a grand ecological experiment. We were without wolves for seventy years, and we’ve just had them back in for 11 years, so we’re only just starting to see changes. It could take many decades for the ecosystem to recover.”
At present, what’s most at risk as we debate the role of wolves in the ecosystem seems to be our hope for a really straightforward story that explains what’s going on around us.