The Big (Not So) Bad Wolf of Yellowstone
I came across this striking video of a talk by Guardian environmental writer George Monbiot. The argument for wolves in our public parks is quite simple. It’s makes them better, healthier and easier to maintain.
Last week, every wolf in the Lost Creek pack was killed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. After learning that the 11 shot included two that were part of an ongoing government research project, I felt that it was even more important for people to see this.
I know that the State of Alaska is trying to start a war on “federal overreach,” but wolves should not be part of the collateral damage.
Here’s the statement on the killings from the National Park Service:
“National Park Service (NPS) wildlife biologists lost the ability to research radio-collared wolves from the Lost Creek pack, which has historically used Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) eliminated all 11 members of the pack outside of the preserve last week as part of ADF&G’s ongoing aerial predator control program in the upper Yukon and Fortymile Rivers region.
The pack had been monitored by NPS researchers over the past seven years as part of a decades-long ecological study, and provided detailed information about the condition of Interior Alaska’s wolves, how they disperse, and the numbers of wolves utilizing the preserve to den and raise pups. Removal of the Lost Creek pack follows similar losses from ADF&G predator control efforts last spring which killed 36 wolves in the area, reducing the population using the preserve by more than half.
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve was created in 1980 by the Alaska Lands Act to maintain the environmental integrity of the Charley River basin in its undeveloped natural condition for public benefit and scientific study, and to protect populations of fish and wildlife, including wolves. As top predators, wolves have an important role in the natural functioning of ecosystems by regulating prey species.
From George Monbiot’s TED Talk. Wolves were once native to the US’ Yellowstone National Park — until hunting wiped them out. But when, in 1995, the wolves began to come back (thanks to an aggressive management program), something interesting happened: the rest of the park began to find a new, more healthful balance. In a bold thought experiment, George Monbiot imagines a wilder world in which humans work to restore the complex, lost natural food chains that once surrounded us.