Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wolves Were Reintroduced To Yellowstone In 1995 And The Impact They've Had Is Unbelievable

The events that have occurred in Yellowstone National Park over the last 20+ years are nothing short of miraculous. Even though as humans we tend to think that we are the only ones who are capable of saving the environment. The truth is, if we would stop destroying it, eventually Mother Nature would take care of and restore itself in ways we would never be able to replicate. 

Back in 1995, a small group of wolves was reintroduced to Yellowstone. 

The park hadn't had a wolf population for nearly 70 years, which resulted in increased deer populations and decreased vegetation from their grazing.

The reintroduction of the wolf not only had a surprisingly quick impact on deer numbers, but it also ended up being a textbook example of an ecological process called "trophic cascade."

Trophic cascade is a process that starts at the top of a food chain and works its way to the bottom of it. So, even though as predators wolves survive by taking life, they also have the ability to create it. 

When they were reintroduced to Yellowstone, the wolves began killing the deer, which not only helped with population control, but also behavior.

The deer began avoiding certain areas of the park — mainly valleys and gorges — which allowed the vegetation to regenerate itself. 

It also caused the height of certain trees to increase, which attracted birds and beavers.

In turn, the niches and dams created by the beavers became habitats for other species, like muskrats, ducks, and fish. 

Not only did the wolves hunt deer, but they also preyed on coyotes, and by controlling that species's population, those of rabbits and mice increased, which attracted more hawks, weasels, foxes, and badgers. 

Also, the leftovers from the wolves became food for ravens, bald eagles, and bears, so their numbers rose! 

The increase in vegetation provided berries for the bears too, and they reinforced the impact of the wolves by hunting deer calves. 

To top it all off, the wolves also had a dramatic impact on the rivers of Yellowstone. The waterways meandered and eroded less, channels narrowed, and pools formed. And because of the newly formed forests, river banks were able to stabilize themselves, which prevented premature collapsing.

In two decades, one species was able to not only transform the ecosystem of Yellowstone, but also its physical geography.

After hearing that, it's hard not to believe that Mother Nature is capable of so much more than many of us give it credit for.

If you think Mother Nature is awesome, let us know in the COMMENTSand SHAREthis article with everyone you know!


Author: verified_user