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Yellowstone Officials Attempt Mass Killing of Lake Trout

Yellowstone Officials Attempt Mass Killing of Lake Trout
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Yellowstone National Park is one of America’s most celebrated natural areas, where breathtaking scenery abounds and wild animals roam the trails at will. Researchers at the United States Geological Survey, however, recently decided that one species of fish — the lake trout — found in Yellowstone must be sacrificed in order to preserve its native cousin, the cutthroat trout. The cutthroat is a “keystone” species in the Yellowstone ecosystem and is a vital food source for grizzly bears, egrets, eagles, martens and other animals.

Kirk Johnson of the New York Times describes the conflict between lake trout and cutthroats:

“Lake trout, which park officials believe were introduced by fishermen a few decades ago, gobble up the cutthroats (named for the slash of red under their jaws). And lake trout, unlike the cuts, as they are called, hide in the deep and do not venture into streams and tributaries to spawn, where bears and other animals can catch and eat them.”

In an attempt to find where the Yellowstone lake trout spawn, researchers implanted tiny radio transmitters into several of the fish. Once they locate the lake trout eggs, it will be much easier to eradicate the species, possibly with “electricity or suction.”

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Photo credit: Fishking_1

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137 comments

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11:14AM PST on Feb 22, 2012

fishermen should know better than to introduce nonindigonous species into a water body anywhere

7:50AM PDT on Sep 12, 2011

Lake trout are an introduced species that are destroying not just Cutthroat trout, but the entire food chain linked to the Cutthroat. When I worked in Yellowstone I saw the damage first hand. It is fine to rid one of the last vestiges of wild biodiversity in a region of an introduced species so that we can maintain that unique, wild ecosystem - for research, science, education, recreation, cultural preservation, and much more. Fine to process the Lake trout as food for area animals in need, such as a wolf sanctuary, and for people in need too.

4:44PM PDT on Aug 31, 2011

good idea. let the lake trout eat everything. then the lake trout die out. then we put fish back in because there are no fish for bears,birds and wolves to eat.

1:21AM PDT on Aug 31, 2011

The lake trout will eventually stop breeding when their food supply dwindles.

5:43PM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Tammy D. people here don't care about that. Like I said, of coyotes were dumped on the Galapagos islands and were gobbling up everything, and left to grow to population of 800. people would want all 800 of them spayed and neuterd, and wait for all 800 of them to die.or wait till 200 are left, then ship them off to Florida or to Patagonia. something stupid.
the'll make petition to "save the Galapagos coyote" and brand everyone a savage who dare go down there to shoot 793 of them to "save the native animals".

because "only humans do bad damage, animals are innocent, they are just eating to live"
People here want coyotes to fix the New Zealand rabbit problem.

10:15AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

It makes sense to remove the invasive species. they can always re-introduce them if getting rid of them causes a problem. the cutthroat however probably can't be reintroduced.

9:14AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

thanks for the information

8:34AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Yep, if it works break it!

Then spend a lot of money trying to fix it.

Stop interfering with nature.

8:06AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

I agree with the fact the Lake Trout are causing the Cutthroat Trout to disappear and something needs to be done to rectify the situation, BUT, I also feel, as others have indicated, the Lake Trout should be USED as FOOD, for people who have very little, and would greatly benefit from receiving them.

7:38AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

thanks for the article

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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