Discover the Yellowstone wolves

Discover Yellowstone gray wolves

The Yellowstone wolves general information

Yellowstone wolves are the most famous wolves packs in the world. They live in the Yellowstone National Park, and his history is fascinating.
Wolf is the animal more studied in the wildlife. Anyway, we know just a small part of his life and behavior. There are 11 packs in the park, and they are under Act protection.
But why this packs became so famous? Understanding this is necessary to go back to the ending of the 19th century and is better to fix the milestone of the Yellowstone wolves.

1872 Creation of Yellowstone National Park.
1872-1926 progressive decline of gray wolf population by hunting.
1926 gray wolf declared extinct by the scientific community.
1926-1973 progressive grows of efforts by park managers, biologists, conservationists and environmentalists to reintroduce the gray wolf in the park.
1973 Endangered Species Act is active.
1995 first gray wolves are reintroduced in Yellowstone in a number of 14 wolves moved from Canada.
1996 in January other 17 wolves were free in Yellowstone.
2016 11 packs are presents in Yellowstone and 108 wolves.

Yellowstone the beginning

When they decide to constitute the park, the protection of wild animals and especially the big predators were not a priority. So progressively the hunters which mostly time was even livestock owners or hunters guide, have extirpated the whole population of gray wolves.
After the gray wolves extinction, nature gave his answer, the elk population had grown up without control and in small years the condition of the forest became very bad. The whole ecosystem was in bad condition, the number of coyotes had grown up in an incredible number.

More decades before the best solution

The park Management decide to kill a significant number of elk, but the result has been not good. So years are are passing and many voices from the scientist’s community start to press for the reintroduction of wolves supported by many studies.
In 1995 finally, the reintroduction of gray wolves started and fortunately the program not stopped up now.

Yellowstone wolves, the reintroduction of gray wolves

The reintroduction starts in 1995 with the transfer from Canada of 14 specimens. The reintroduction of Yellowstone wolves follows with the transfer of other 17 specimens. A total of 31 animals was in Yellowstone and nobody at that time can imagine which impact can have on the ecosystem.
In a few years, the number of Yellowstone wolves grow up to considerate the optimal amount of the area. There are 11 packs with 108 animals.

Effects of the reintroduction

After a few years the effect of wolves reintroduction was very clear in the eyes of the scientist. The population of elk appears in good number because of the animals killed by wolves the elk population prefer to stay far from wolves. The effect is the trophic cascade and was beyond any scientist expectation. The regulation of a number of elk and coyote leave the road open to the return of beavers and many rodents.
Nobody can imagine this before: just a single predator presence can affect an entire ecosystem and landscape.

Actual situation In Yellowstone and nearby areas

If the condition inside the park is good, the areas outside have more problems. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service changed the status of the Yellowstone wolves from Endangered to Experimental Population-Non Essential.
The result of this was the hunting permits in the area nearby Yellowstone. But the wolf is free, and from the park, they move out where they meet the hunters ready to satisfy their thirst for the trophy.
Is this the case of many wolves became a trophy, including two of the more famous in the world.

When the hunters kill the Yellowstone wolves stars

Is 2012, a female gray wolf ‘06’ don’t survive at the meeting outside the park of a hunter. She was a star in a wolves community because she was strong, brave, and intelligent. In her life, she resolves many stressful situations, where usually another specimen don’t survive, or he come back to the original pack. Her ability to move through the dangers made her famous, but she had another special characteristic. She was able to kill an elk alone. Normally the elk dies under the attack of the pack or at least 4/5 elements.
In 2016 the famous white wolf, which was one of the main attraction in the park, arrive at the doctor in bad condition. He will die by euthanasia because of the gravity of injuries.

Yellowstone  wolf
Photo by Philippe Montes -Yellowstone wolves, rare white wolf

Which future for Yellowstone wolves?

A question fundamental but without a simple answer. The lesson came from Yellowstone wolves reintroduction in Yellowstone is big, but big is even the interest of hunters, farmers and hunters guides. There is much pressure to permit the wolf killing the industry, and everything is in the hands of politicians. This is enough to worry; the consequence of stopping the protection will be enormous.

Apart from the problem of the ecosystem, even all the long-term studies regarding the life of wolves will no longer be useful.

How to help the wolves of Yellowstone

Recently British Columbia has banned the bear’s trophy hunting, they decide to promote the wildlife watching tourism. This Act opens the road to other countries follow this choice. The same strategy can be good for Yellowstone wolves watching. When you promote correctly a specialized offer regarding this kind of tourism, the results are very good. , The global impact of the choice needs to add in the evaluations.
People worry about climate changing, even if some politician try to minimize the reality, people are not stupid and they see with their eyes the global warming effects. So the people become more sensitive to the ecological issues and they are attracting from wildlife. The wildlife tourism is growing and is very positive. Last consideration is about the international reputation of places or countries. If you ban the trophy hunting your reputation will grow, there is no doubt in this.

How to do when you go without a guide in wolf presence area

The first thing is to remember, the wolf, like all the predators, is a potential danger to humans. Sometimes we read that human is not considerate a prey, is true but not every time!! Another important consideration is about the situations out of your control.
Can happen, for example if you meet the wolf in a short distance from you? Are you ready to have a correct behavior in this case? Do you think you have enough self-control? Do you think you have enough experience?

The guidelines suggested by the Park Authority

Bad practice is to give food to the wild animals, this behavior is very bad and creates many issues to wolf and humans. As reported on the park internet site, 8 wolves became human-friendly and 2 of them was necessary to kill.

Yellowstone wolfKeep food and garbage safely. Personally, I can add this: don’t keep your food or garbage if you sleep in the tent, is a good behavior to eat in one place and sleep in another.
Don’t approach the wolf.
If you have children, they must stay absolutely under your eyes.
To see a wolf too friendly, better to stop and observe his behavior, in case he approaches, is better to discourage him. Put up your arms and shake it, do noise like yell, and if is not enough, use the bear pepper spray.
When you have dogs with you, please keep close to you and keep it leashed.

How to help the Yellowstone ecosystem and the gray wolf with tourism

Finally, we can say the better way to help the gray wolf, and the Great Yellowstone Ecosystem is to visit the park. Our suggestion especially if you are not very expert, is to hire a guide. The reason is at least two; a passionate guide can teach you about wolf better than 100 books. Second, using guides, you increment the value of the tourism for the ecosystem and that permit at the scientists and environmental associations to have more power in the battle of biodiversity protection.

Where to stay during Yellowstone national park vacation

There is an excellent offer of Yellowstone national park vacation, mainly west Yellowstone lodging is high. Other possibilities are in Wapiti, Teton Village, Dubois, Cook City, Moran and Colter Bay Village.
Over the lodges is possible to do camping, and is the better choice if you want to stay close the nature. Camping in wildlands is an unparalleled experience, remember the suggestions above.
Visit the official site of the Yellowstone National Park and watch the Yellowstone wolves and, why not, also the Brown bears.

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