The reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park did not end the debate of whether wolves should stay or go. Advocates for wolf reintroduction say the wolves control elk and deer population numbers; preventing the destruction of ranchers cattle and the land. Opponents say the wolves kill elk and deer that could be hunted. Ranchers fear the wolves will kill their livestock decreasing profits. Wolves are a natural mean of controlling the number of deer, elk, and other large game in an environment.
In 1996 the government brought back the wolf and there was a lot of controversy about the subject. Since people feared the wolf; they thought that there would be more wolf attacks, and livestock lost. The truth is: a person is more likely to get attacked by a buffalo or an elk than a wolf. Their food supply was plentiful at the time of reintroduction so attacks were never a problem. Wolves weigh around 70-120 pounds, 26-34 inches in height at the shoulder and very lean and powerful.
While wolf hunting habits are a prime example of natural selection, human hunters are the opposite. They hunt the bigger and stronger deer, giving the weak a chance to reproduce. What about the problem of the decreasing deer population? They have been over-populated for many years, and while good for hunters, this is a problem for the wilderness areas of Wisconsin. Without the wolves to hunt the deer, they overpopulated rather quickly.
This meant that they turned their attention to domestic livestock, causing farmers and ranchers to fight back. There were even some states offering bounties for the wolves. Montana had a bounty on wolves that totaled more than $350,000 on 81,000 wolves. Due to the lack of a food source, as well as the bounties being offered, a wolf was no longer safe in the lower 48 states. However, there was one safe haven, and that was Yellowstone National Park that was established in 1872.
As of 1995, wolves have been reintroduced into the park. This has come with some strong opposition and yet has prevailed. The future of the wolf in Yellowstone park is now looking bright, although not certain since there still are those who want them banished again. History Many hundreds of years ago wolves roamed the entire North American continent with no barriers and very few predators. As settlers moved into the United States, wolves became more and more scarce in the wild of America.
Because wolves regulate the carrying capacity, preserve the health of herds, and complete the ecological cycle in a balanced system, they must be restored to Yellowstone. To understand why wolves should inhabit the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), we must first look to history. As Douglas Smith et al say, “The history of wolves in North America and the west is straightforward: we killed them” (108). This statement may sound simplified, but actual wolf extermination was thoughtless and thorough. Many wolves were removed from regions where they weren’t even threats to humans or livestock (Klinghammer 446) because wolves, like grizzlies, were perceived as competitors for land and food.
European settlers began to explore areas such as Idaho during the early 1800’s. The settlers saw opportunity in Idaho, Oregon, and Montana due to the large quantities of trees necessary for building of homes and other provisions. The clearing of trees caused the destruction of wildlife habitats which were homes to the native creatures occupying the area. With the expansion of settlements came the first encounters with wolves. According to Robert J. Noecker, an analyst in Natur... ... middle of paper ... ...ieved December 15, 2013, from http://www.skinnymoose.com/bbb/2011/01/21/native-rocky-mountain-wolves-v-introduced-canadian-gray-wolves/ Maughan, R. (1998, September 25).
Wolf activists, farmers, and hunters are the main players in the fight for or against wolf reintroduction. Wolves are a vital part of our ecology, the animal kingdom’s food chain, and economy; and as such should be reintroduced to all the areas that the wolf roamed before they were wiped out by European explorers. The ecology, or how living organism interact with their environment, starts from the top, or the predator and goes down to the soil and streams. Before the wolf was introduced to the Yellowstone National Park, elk populations have grown too large for the land to sustain them. Due to the large number of elk eating the grass and trees, the grass has been eaten, and the soil has become loose due to the lack of grass to hold the soil in place (Hannibal 2012).
Back in the earlier years of the United States, wolves roamed free, and when farmers moved their livestock into what was then the wolves' territo... ... middle of paper ... ...he wolves, as well as a recreational hunting season. This would benefit both the wolves, preventing them from overpopulating, packs from interfering, and limit the starvation of the animals, and also the state's economy by bringing in tourism both to observe the wildlife and also for the sport reason of hunting. When a properly regulated system is put into play, along with how carefully monitored the wolves already are in the state of Wisconsin, both the wolves and the state will be able to benefit from the proposed humane practices as seen in the Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan. Works Cited Allen, John. “Wolves at the Door.” On Wisconsin.