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Old 02-18-2014, 09:27 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,497 posts, read 45,468,190 times
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Fascinating and beautiful cinematography- I'll show this to my children to help explain what an ecosystem is

How Wolves Changed An Entire Ecosystem
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:18 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
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This was a really wonderful video. Had never heard of "trophic cascade."
I am in amazement that the re-intoduction of one species could change so many things.
Thanks for sharing it!
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:57 AM
B4U
 
Location: the west side of "paradise"
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Fabulous! .... and AWESOME!
Thanks, NK.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Floyd Co, VA
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The video mentions that the wolves were reintroduced in 1995 and it is simply amazing that such transformation happened in just under 20 years.

Thanks for posting this.
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
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The video mostly got it right, with one major exception, and it was a huge one. Narration kept mentioning that the wolves reduced the "deer" population. There are relatively few deer in YNP, the animals shown, which should have been identified correctly, that had become overpopulated, are elk. Elk were and are the primary prey for wolves in the park.

The wolf re-introduction has aroused a great deal of controversy, with emotions often running very high. There are extremists on both sides of the issue, both pro and anti wolf. There are threads, a few of which go back several years, on the Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho forums on this topic, for those that wish to delve deeper and read the debates. Wolves are not just the cute, fuzzy, lovely, harmless creatures that their fans picture them to be. Neither are they relentless, vicious killing machines out to slaughter every living thing that their foes accuse them of being.
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:38 AM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
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Some studies have shown that more than a reduction of prey items (most focused on ungulates), that the prey shifted behavior. They changed habitat usage and became more cryptic. Not surprising that prey would act/react differently with large predators in the environment.

There was another reason the reintroduction was controversial. There was a component of the pro wolf in the ecosystem crowd that did not want the wolves to be re-introduced by man to Yellowstone as the wolves were naturally getting closer to the park already. In time they would have re introduced themselves, and that would have been a different situation under the ESA. With artificially introduced populations there are protocols for removing "problem" animals. If they expanded naturally and had the full protection of the ESA, that would not have been the case.
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Rochester NY
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This is fascinating! Thank you for sharing.
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zugor View Post
The video mentions that the wolves were reintroduced in 1995 and it is simply amazing that such transformation happened in just under 20 years.

Thanks for posting this.
The wolves were actually reintroduced long before they admitted to it so they wouldn't have to face rancher opposition until later and could then point out the lack of damage having already been there.

I have family vacation footage my father took from inside yellowstone showing a wolfpack on a ridgeline around 1980. Yes, 1980!
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Old 02-20-2014, 12:06 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
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If you like fiction... get Nicholas Evans (Horse Whisperer) book "The Loop"
LINK to reviews
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timberline742 View Post
Some studies have shown that more than a reduction of prey items (most focused on ungulates), that the prey shifted behavior. They changed habitat usage and became more cryptic. Not surprising that prey would act/react differently with large predators in the environment.
Before the wolves, predation was only a minor threat to the huge elk population. Coyotes, which are only one third the size of wolves, and who usually hunt alone or in male/female pairs, and who do not have the social structure of wolves, are only rarely a threat to an adult elk, although they will take an occasional calf if the mother becomes careless. Bears also take a few calves, although after a few weeks growth they become too fast for bears to catch. A healthy adult elk can only be taken by a bear if caught by surprise in a close range ambush, otherwise, much too fast.

Before wolves, that left only cougars as the major danger to an adult elk. Cougars are widely scattered over YNP, and there may be only about 20-25 adults in the park at the same time. The big cats usually killed calves or cows. A mature bull elk is a very dangerous target for even a big tom to take on, and only rarely do they even try.

When wolves came back in 1995, everything changed, as the film pointed out. At first, the elk had no idea what wolves were, since they had had no need to develop anti predator defenses against them. The first few years were times of easy, abundant hunting for the wolves. But then, as new generations of elk were born, the hunting got much tougher. The elk learned and adopted anti wolf behavior. So too, did the bison and other animals. As far as the other predators go, the wolves were very bad for coyotes, not good for cougars, good for bears, particularly grizzlies, who scavenge wolf kills, and in many cases, will even take away a recent kill from a wolf pack, provided the grizzly is a mature male of at least average size.
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