In 1995, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, along with Canadian biologists, captured 14 wolves in Canada and placed them in Yellowstone National Park, where they had been extinct since 1926. Over the next few years, the number of wolves rose, but that was the least of the changes that took place in Yellowstone.
The effects were more striking than anyone could have expected. The entire ecosystem of the national park transformed and it went so far that even the rivers changed. How could this have happened?
Watch the clip and marvel
at the amazing way in which nature works.
When Wolves Return to the Wild, Everything Changes
In late March 1995, the USA’s Yellowstone National Park received a special delivery. Fourteen grey wolves, flown in two months earlier from the Canadian Rockies, were released into the park. Neighboring Idaho received fifteen wolves. Wolves howling in the snow, not heard in these forests since their extermination 60 years before, trumpeted their return.
Scientists had intended to reintroduce and conserve grey wolves in their original habitats. They did not foresee that the wolves, with blood on their teeth and claws, would restore leaves to the trees.
In fact, it seems the return of the wolves has had remarkable consequences for the entire Yellowstone ecosystem. The story illustrates how the presence or absence of a top predator can utterly reshape an ecosystem. Continue Reading