Protect the Gray Wolves Long before the settlers started to make the United States their home, “American Indians lived long beside the Gray Wolf before settlers started to come here.” (Rowe, Mark) The wolf is native to the North American continent and has been inhabiting its land for centuries. It is a canid species, or member of the canine family and is a cunning, smart, fast, and sly animal. Gray wolves range in color from black, brown, gray, and white and also look like a grown German Shepherd.
Wolves, as with most wild animals, need to be hunted and regulated. For generations people have been hunting wolves for their pelts, and to keep families, pets and livestock safe. By hunting wolves we can also keep the wolf packs healthier while making sure they don’t get over run with disease. It also assures that hunters will have wild game for sport and food. Wolves cause a major threat to families, their livestock, wild game animals and to bear hunters’ dogs living in rural areas. Wolves are a growing threat and they should be legally regulated by the process of hunting and trapping so they are kept down to a healthy number.
In this research paper, I will address the changes that occurred within the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park since the reintroduction of the grey wolves. The paper will consist of four sections; the first section will include the history behind the extirpation and subsequent reintroduction of the gray wolf in Northern America. The second section will explore the political controversy that surrounds the reintroduction of the gray wolf in Yellowstone. The third section will contain discuss the gray wolf and its impact on the ecosystem of Yellowstone. I will conclude my essay by explaining how the gray wolves act as climate change buffers in Yellowstone amidst global warming.
A beautiful, clear night in the Rocky Mountain backcountry, stars fill the moonless night sky, and one can not help to think of how peaceful it is. Traveling through the backcountry, you have encountered more wildlife than you have people. Suddenly, the silence of the evening is interrupted by the howl of a wolf, alerting all to its presence. The howl is soon answered by another, closer howl. You can feel the hair stand up on the back of your neck as you realize that you are not alone in the wilderness, with the top predator lurking nearby. As you drift off to sleep, you can not help but to admire the wonderful balance of the natural world. This feeling was once obtainable throughout all of the Rocky Mountains, but now it is limited to a few isolated areas where the gray wolf still runs free.
In America, many of us have witnessed earth’s most beautiful and natural wonders. Throughout the years many settlers would pick a location based on its natural resources as well as its breath-taking scenery. Most of earth’s inhabitants have visited places such as the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls to revel in its majestic beauty. Sadly, in order to maintain the explosion of human procreation we are forced to cross boundaries with our surrounding environments. This is where issues arise, and we begin to see wildlife intermixing with human life. We start to fear for our own and arm ourselves ready to battle nature; as though wildlife were the intruders. In any sense, they are the ones we have exiled from their own lands. We did not leave them a choice. For centuries people have been reshaping natural habitats to sustain our civilization, and in doing so we threaten the existence of native wildlife such as the Rocky Mountain Grey Wolf. In an attempt to right a wrong, Wildlife officials began reintroducing Canadian Grey Wolves. This too has created an imbalance causing citizens and officials of Idaho to take action into their own hands.
Needing Wolves in Yellowstone WHY THERE HAVE BEEN NO WOLVES IN YELLOWSTONE: A Brief History Around 1930, the last wolf was spotted in the Yellowstone Area by a paid hunter, he got a shot off but his aim was not true. That was the last recorded sighting of a gray wolf in the Yellowstone Park land. From 1918 to 1935 government scouts recorded killing 35 mountain lions, 2,968 coyotes and 114 wolves (Phillips 1996). Those are total numbers, since a wolf hadn't been seen since 1930, the 114 wolves had been exterminated in the early 1920's. In 1933, the Park adopted a slightly humanistic policy, taking a stance on limiting the unnecessary killing of predators in the Park, but it was too late; Humanity had successfully extinguished canis lupus along with its food sources and habitat from the west (Phillips 1996).
Restoring Wolves to Yellowstone In his book, Never Cry Wolf, Farley Mowat tells an Inuit tale, saying that in the beginning, caribou were created for humans to hunt. However, humans “hunted only the big, fat caribou, for they had no wish to kill the weak and the small and the sick,” creating a weak population of caribou. The creator then made wolves to eat the sick, weak, and small caribou, creating a natural health and balance to the earth (124). Humans have traditionally seen wolves as a competitor and a danger, but these misconceptions can now be put to rest.
Most people say that if you reintroduce the wolf to Maine, big game hunting would have to be stopped. This is untrue. As long as the deer and moose population neither grows nor decreases hunting is doing its job. Wolves don’t have any great effect on the population of their prey. They take only sick and old animals and very rarely do they take an animal that has a likelihood of breeding.
Wolves had live throughout parts of the world for thousands of years before humans just kept rising in population and minimizing the wolves’ population through the expansion of their territories for farm agriculture and industrialization. It is only in the United States where humans completely annihilated wolves; they did this by hunting the wolves down until the last wolf was killed in 1926. However, in 1995, 14 wolves were caught from Canada and release into Yellowstone National Park. This makes it almost 70 years since the wolves have been reintroduced back into Yellowstone National Park (17 July 2009)