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Speak Out For Strong Protections For Wolves And Other Endangered Species


Animals  (tags: Endangered species act, wolf protection, Congress )

Krista
- 1317 days ago - secure.earthjustice.org
It's hard to understand how some in the new Congress think they were elected to sacrifice our wildest and most vulnerable creatures for political gain. to transform a simple budget bill into a cudgel against the Endangered Species Act .



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Comments

. (0)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 11:55 am
Absolutely/done/thank you Krista
 

Krista Tackett (48)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 12:18 pm
Noted .This is an extremely important letter campaign to tell your Senate Leaders to support science-based wolf management ,and to oppose any legislation that would weaken protections against ANY American wild animals and the Endangered Species Act !
I am very sorry to say that this says USA Residents only and I regret that very much as everyone'letter is needed . But unless I can figure something else out on how to do it , that may be the way it has to be because this letter campaign is too important not to use to defeat those In Congress that are working so hard to brind down Wolves and the ESA ! I will do my best to figure out a solition . I do hope you know that it is not me , it is the way it was done by Earth Justice . They are an outstanding organization and are supplying the Lawyers to fight this in Court .Withou them we would be in some serious trouble .If you have an American addres to use , that is up to you . But I can't say one way or the other.Thank you for your devoted support and commitment to saving our wolves and polar bears.My Heart is breaking over those that have already been so cruely and sensely killed !But I will continue to fight - the word "QUIT" is NOT in my vocabulary ! I ask you to continue to stand with us and I will search for other ways of geting your names and voices heard too . We have to do everything possible to continue to hear The Howl of the Wolves !
God Bles us all ! !
 

Allan Yorkowitz (445)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 12:53 pm
It's so sad, nearly pathetic that the world does not seem to get it.
 

june bullied (553)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 1:13 pm
noted but cannot sign. wont accept postal code.
 

Penelope Ryan (176)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 1:21 pm
They need to be cut down, no voting themselves in cadalac healthcare, pay increases. They should serve for free with term limits. Wish we could decide about them, like they do for us. They are supposed to protect our beloved animals instead ranchers and business decide while the BLM, Dept of Interior does nothing to help the people but only serves the business people with the money. Somebody say Salazr is is a democrat! I find it hard to believe.
 

Constance F. (434)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 1:28 pm
Thank you for the post. Noted. Signed!
 

KayAway F. (552)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 1:35 pm
Signed & shared, thanks Krista.
 

Cindy C. (125)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 1:37 pm
noted and signed
 

Marilyn M. (143)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 2:15 pm
Noted. Thank you, Krista. I already had signed the letter to the Senate leaders. I am a longtime Earthjustice supporter. Because the earth needs a good lawyer is their tagline. Founded as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund in 1971, they provide free legal services to environmental nonprofits. They have a four star rating (the maximum possible) with the charity rating service Charity Navigator.
 

Carrie B. (309)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 2:20 pm
Noted and action taken.
 

Laverne Wallace (59)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 2:37 pm
Signed and noted
 

Nancy sands (448)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 2:39 pm
n/s from ns
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 2:49 pm
noted...and we cleaned house last fall to get rid of some of the idiots politicians...now we need to clean out again....i'm guessing we have to deal with these politicians now rather than later.......we elected these folks to represent OUR INTERESTS, NOT THEIRS.....they need to listen to us and take care of OUR BUSINESS...NOT THEIR GREED...THEY ARE NOT ELECTED TO GET RICH OFF US.....
 

Dotti Lydon (113)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 5:02 pm
Noted and message sent.
 

Susan S. (191)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 6:29 pm
Thanks for posting. We need to speak out for endangered animals.
 

Melody Aragorn (135)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 7:36 pm
Ignorant men always feared the wolves for..
Their strength
Their Packs unity
Their wisdom
Their love
Their teaching
Their intelligence
Their might and strength
Their hearts
Their courage
For the ignorant ones they never wished to learn nor live free..

Man has learned from these amazing lives who did nothing but set an example, today he turns his back them..
Animals are lives too they are useful even after their death. They have adapted to mans needs robbed of their lands robbed of their rights yet still have it in their hearts to love and care in return..
Animals warn humans of dangers for free .. man forgets this too...
how hard is it to just let them live and give them their space which is infact their basic right!!

Thanks Krista T have sent this far and wide out of Care 2....

While one has the time one needs to watch this http://www.wisdomofwolves.com/

SAVE THE WOLVES.. TAKE A STAND FOR LIFE..



To the wolf, to their wisdom, to their strength, to their hearts of courage...
Every life has a purpose ..
Thanks Krista T have sent this far and wide out of Care 2....
While one has the time one needs to watch this http://www.wisdomofwolves.com/
 

Gysele van Santen (213)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 7:42 pm
signed, thnx.
 

ali hamilton (3)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 7:43 pm
we have driven so many animals to needless extinction, when will we change and learn to love our fellow creatures?
 

bj. shaw (61)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 8:13 pm
thanks for the article
sad though it maybe
 

Ruth McD (724)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 8:14 pm
Signed!
 

Carol D. (22)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 8:41 pm
Signed. Thanks for posting. Ongoing sorrow for lack of human consciousness.
 

Gail Lopez (65)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 9:11 pm
signed, noted, shared. tx
 

Walter Firth (45)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 9:24 pm
Noted and signed.June bullied just add another number to your postcode and it will go through.Mine is 2065 I added another 5 and it worked.
 

Homer E. (309)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 9:39 pm
Thanks. Glad to sign. This attack on our endangered wild species, especially on upper trophic predators (wolves, delisting the eastern cougar through declaring extinct, etc.), and wild heritage is unacceptable.
 

Corinna M. (40)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 10:04 pm
I don't understand the ignorance of our polticians or the way they think. Why do they want to destroy every living creature?!!!
 

Shirley S. (174)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 10:09 pm
Done
 

Tan S. (0)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 10:19 pm
We share the planet with our fellow creatures, we must treat them as our fellow brothers and sisters and friends and not kill them and also not destroy their homes and also not to take away their food sources.
 

Regina P. (79)
Saturday March 12, 2011, 10:39 pm
Noted & signed.
 

Ana R (220)
Sunday March 13, 2011, 12:22 am
Gladly S@N
 

KS Goh (0)
Sunday March 13, 2011, 12:46 am
Thanks for the article.
 

gerlinde p. (161)
Sunday March 13, 2011, 12:53 am
signed ty
 

Ioana B. (132)
Sunday March 13, 2011, 1:10 am
noted but cannot sign
 

Nancy Roussy (79)
Sunday March 13, 2011, 7:36 am
Signed and noted, thank you!
 

Jo-Ann Harris (85)
Sunday March 13, 2011, 8:19 am
Thank you Krista. Noted and signed. For those of you living in Canada, you can still sign the letter by stating FL and a postal code of 11111 in the appropriate areas. These was told to me by Defenders a while back. It will be accepted and noted as an international signature. So sign away.
 

Bradford Penrod (24)
Sunday March 13, 2011, 10:56 am
Shared, signed and noted; this is too important not to get involved in. I think we still have a chance if enough of us raise a clammor; all we need is one important politician to hear and act.
 

Jeannette A. (146)
Sunday March 13, 2011, 11:57 am
Signed & noted... I think most of us know what this is all about. Ken Salazar, our Secretary of the Interior, is a rancher whose dearest desire is to wipe out all wolf populations and is not a man to be swayed by reason or compassion.
 

Susan D. (116)
Sunday March 13, 2011, 4:02 pm
Jo-Ann , is that right? Never knew... so... there is an address in the UK that is now in NV! I must have done this before, as the page told me before I signed, that my letter was going to Harry Reid! (I find he is a good guy, by the way. Always sends positive replies! ) ty Krista... ps shared in Fb.
 

Krista Tackett (48)
Monday March 14, 2011, 10:32 am
Please , will those of you that comment forward to your friends ?! Thousands of wolves and polar bears are depending on US to save them ! We need many mor signatures ! This is it ! These idiots in Congress are not playing ! So please forward this to all animal advocate/activists ! thank You ! Blessings, Krista/animalwoman
 

Michela m. (3956)
Monday March 14, 2011, 4:23 pm
SIGNED and Noted!! Thanks, Ciao!! Michela
 

. (0)
Monday March 14, 2011, 5:04 pm
many thanks krista - noted & signed....
 

Henriette Matthijssen (145)
Monday March 14, 2011, 7:04 pm
Signed, Thanks Krista.
 

James W. (263)
Monday March 14, 2011, 7:09 pm
HAPPY TO SIGN & NOTE THANKS FOR CARING SO MUCH KRISTA
 

Penelope Ryan (176)
Monday March 14, 2011, 8:15 pm
Not only wolves and Polar bears but Bison, horses, and Burros all the animals the BLM is assaulting. Salazar and Robert Abby must go!!!
 

Kathy Chadwell (367)
Monday March 14, 2011, 10:41 pm
Signed, added to facebook & twitters
Thank you Krista
 

Helen Beasley (66)
Monday March 14, 2011, 10:58 pm
Noted,Signed,Shared...Thank you
 

Jen S. (109)
Tuesday March 15, 2011, 7:50 am
Thank you Krista-signed and forwarded with wild abandon!
 

Jill Vickerman (426)
Tuesday March 15, 2011, 10:44 am
Thanks Krista...
 

Stella AWAY W. (258)
Tuesday March 15, 2011, 12:32 pm
We don't share the planet with them, somehow I think they share the planet with us - and I doubt if they would wish to have 'us' around if given another chance at considering the choice!!! We as humans have to critically diminish our footprint on this planet and doing everything to save our animal kingdom from negative human intervention is a step in the right direction - and we can NEVER stop striving to protect our voiceless heroes from the imbalances created by the human species in the first place!
 

Jeannette A. (146)
Friday March 18, 2011, 1:46 pm
Thank you....
 

Krista Tackett (48)
Saturday March 19, 2011, 9:31 am
The form was evidently changed between the 13th and 14th due to the the fact that on the 13th you couldn't sign if outside the USA and on the 14th , you could. But i did not discover this until last night when I read the latest newsletter from Earth's Justice . I wish I had caught it on the 14th . PLEASE< quickly start signing and forwarding ! Time is crucial ! Thanks to all of you - FOR THE VOICELESS ! Blessings, Krista/animalwoman
 

Jill Vickerman (426)
Saturday March 19, 2011, 9:40 am
Thank you Krista...I could sign it.
 

Stella AWAY W. (258)
Saturday March 19, 2011, 1:12 pm
Now why on bloody earth can't I send a star to Melody??? Can't remember that I sent the previous one the past week! Any case, grateful for being able to sign with a valid and not a fake address!! The Endangered Species Act should be protected from ANY interference, no matter by whom!!!
 

Kendra P. (37)
Saturday March 19, 2011, 1:47 pm
Thanks for letting us know, there are a great many petitions that click to sign, only to find that because I am from the UK, I simply cant :O(

But.....Clicked and signed this one now
 

Patrizia S. (315)
Saturday March 19, 2011, 5:40 pm
Signed & shared, thanks Krista.
 

Chris E. (50)
Saturday March 19, 2011, 9:53 pm
Signed earlier. Thanks!
 

Petra Haisam (132)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 12:44 am
Thank you Krista for making me know I can sign too. Signed & shared.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 9:06 am
Signed all the petitions I could because I'm not a US resident. In fact, it's injust. Just because we are not americans, we don't have the right to sign petitions for animals. The fight to save animals is an international fight, it has no border. I can understand talking about politics but I will never understand for animals.
 

helelne Cardinal (101)
Monday March 21, 2011, 2:21 pm
noted but sorry can't sign from canada, won't take my postal code
 

resignd Cannot remove (139)
Monday March 21, 2011, 3:16 pm
http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/welfare_ranchers_wolves_and_the_externalization_of_costs/C564/L564/

Please copy and past this link on to your URL and read this excellent article. They have another good one on Bison on the margin, I believe. Lost some of my links, as I had more than twenty of them at once, thanks for FireFox..
 

resignd Cannot remove (139)
Monday March 21, 2011, 3:18 pm
http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/bison_slaughter_smokescreen_for_livestock_industry/C564/L564/

Here is the link for the Bison article. Both have the same bottom line, Ken Salazar and Cattle Ranchers Corporation of America is at the basis of the problems with our native species. There is no law that gives cattle and sheep priority over the native species and we want to make sure that does not happen.
 

helelne Cardinal (101)
Monday March 21, 2011, 4:45 pm
signed and noted thanks Krista
 

resignd Cannot remove (139)
Monday March 21, 2011, 4:47 pm
By rick meril, 8-27-10
Again, let us not get rid of Ranchers and the Western historical lifestyle(as well as the trickle down and trickle up jobs that it provides)............But let us open up our mind to the real science based fact that cattle and sheep grazing is not benign and in no way mimics Buffalo grazing..................Time for all of us to "man up" and ADAPT TO THE FACTS AND OVERCOME OUR FEAR OF CHANGE FOR THE BETTER>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Public Lands Ranching:
Taxpayer Subsidized Habitat Destruction

by Mike Hudak, author of
Western Turf Wars: The Politics of Public Lands Ranching



In the eleven western states approximately 254 million acres of federal public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are grazed by domestic livestock—an area more than eighty-one times that of Connecticut. Grazing also occurs on many wildlife refuges, and units of the National Park Service, among them Grand Teton National Park (WY) and Great Basin National Park (NV). These federal lands encompass a wide diversity of ecosystem types including creosote bush deserts, blackbrush deserts, slickrock mesas, sagebrush flats, pinyon-juniper woodlands, chaparral, ponderosa pine forests, and alpine meadows above timberline. Unlike Midwest prairies, these are areas which, during the past 10,000 years or so, have not been subject to intense grazing pressure from large herds of large ungulates. Hence the grasses in these regions have not evolved mechanisms (such as asexual means of reproduction) to protect themselves from such grazing.
Consequently, livestock grazing in the arid West is a major cause of species endangerment. Among 1,207 plant and animal species listed as endangered, threatened or proposed for listing, 11% are impacted by mining, 12% by logging and 22% by livestock grazing (Wilcove et al. 1998). Here are a few example impacts drawn from the survey paper by Tom Fleischner (1994):


• In a sagebrush desert of Idaho, a grazed site had one-third of the plant species richness of an ungrazed site.


• In a riparian area of Oregon, plant species richness increased from seventeen to forty-five species nine years after removal of livestock.


• Among songbirds, raptors and small mammals there was a 350% increase in use and diversity after eight years rest from grazing in Rich County, Utah.


• In southeastern Oregon, abundance of the Yellow Warbler increased by eight times when grazing intensity was reduced by 75%.


Livestock, of course, typically impact wildlife through alteration of habitat. Although such alterations take different forms in different ecosystems, there are few as surprising as this one summarized in the above-mentioned article by Fleischner: In central Washington, grazing was responsible for changing the physical structure of ponderosa pine forest from an open, park-like overstory with dense grass cover to a community characterized by dense pine reproduction and lack of grasses. Similar forest conversions have been documented elsewhere in the West, and indicate that even if poor logging practices such as high-grading and clearcutting are eliminated from our forests, livestock grazing alone will lead to a decline in forest health and an increase in catastrophic fires.


Can Better Livestock Management Correct These Problems?
Some proponents of the livestock industry (e.g., Knize 1999) have claimed that environmental degradation resulted from long-abandoned grazing practices that have now been replaced by "ecologically sensitive" methods that actually benefit native plants and wildlife. (See Savory (1988) for details.) Sadly, despite anecdotal reports of great environmental improvement with these methods, they have not stood up well to scientific scrutiny.
For example, Pieper and Heitschmidt (1988: 135) confront the fundamental claims of Allan Savory by examining a major component of his grazing management system. His claims being “… that dramatic improvements in range condition would occur following proper implementation of a short-duration grazing system … and … that both rate of improvement and individual animal performance would be enhanced as stocking rate increased.” Since the time of Savory’s claims “… a considerable number of scientific studies have been completed that specifically address the effects of short-duration grazing on above-ground forage dynamics, hydrologic integrity, and livestock performance. … In general, these studies do not support the claims that prompted the research.”


Economic Benefits from Grazing Livestock on Federal Lands?
In the 11 western states, ranching on federal public lands provides less than 18,000 jobs (0.06% of total jobs) and 0.04% of the income (Power 1996: Table 8-2). Only about 22% of ranchers in these states even hold federal grazing permits (BLM and USDA 1994: 3-65). On a national basis, these ranchers represent only 2% of America’s 1.1 million cattle operators, producing only 3.8% of the nation’s beef cattle, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Rogers and LaFleur 1999).


Why Should Non-Westerners Care What Occurs on Western Public Lands?
Aside from the extensive damage caused by livestock to western ecosystems—loss of clean water, increased soil erosion, decline of forest health, loss of native plants and decreases in wildlife populations—our federal taxes subsidize the very presence of livestock on these lands. A recent investigation by reporters from the San Jose Mercury News revealed that the U.S. Forest Service and BLM together spent $94 million more on their grazing programs in 1998 than they collected in fees from ranchers (Rogers and LaFleur 1999).
Other investigators claim the subsidies are even greater. Regarding just the western lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Nelson (1996: 4) placed the annual cost of the grazing program at $200 million, although ranchers paid only $20 million through their grazing permits. He also reported that the annual value of the forage coming from these lands was approximately $65.3 million—a good deal for the ranchers, but an economic disaster for taxpayers, who are paying almost three times more than the product is worth.
Hess and Wald (1995), considering both direct and indirect governmental subsidies to the western livestock industry, estimate their cost at $500 million annually.


An End to Public Lands Ranching?
Many people believe that it is time to begin looking at legislative solutions that will phase out livestock grazing on federal public lands. The environmental impacts and taxpayer subsidies are simply not justified by the meager economic benefits, nor by the value to the nation of the beef coming from these lands.


Where to Learn More
In the past few years several survey articles have been written about the environmental impacts of livestock grazing on western ecosystems. These summaries are excellent resources for anyone wanting to better understand these issues, but who do not wish to read hundreds of research papers. Here are three of my favorites:


• A. Joy Belsky and Dana M. Blumenthal. 1997 (April). Effects of Livestock Grazing on Stand Dynamics and Soils in Upland Forests of the Interior West. Conservation Biology, 11(2): 315–27.


• A. J. Belsky, A. Matzke and S. Uselman. 1999 (first quarter). Survey of Livestock Influences on Stream and Riparian Ecosystems in the Western United States. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 54(1): 419–31.


• Thomas L. Fleischner. 1994 (September). Ecological Costs of Livestock Grazing in Western North America. Conservation Biology, 8(3): 629–44.


Readers with access to the Internet can find a wealth of information about public lands ranching on the RangeBiome website. In addition to essays and archived news articles, the website provides links to dozens of livestock-related websites throughout the U.S.


References

Bureau of Land Management and USDA Forest Service. 1994. Rangeland Reform ’94: Draft Environmental Impact Statement.


Fleischner, Thomas L. 1994 (September). Ecological Costs of Livestock Grazing in Western North America. Conservation Biology, 8(3): 629–44.


Hess Jr., Karl and Johanna H. Wald. 1995 (2 October). Grazing Reform: Here’s the Answer. High Country News, 27(18).


Knize, Perri. 1999 (July). Winning the War for the West. The Atlantic Monthly, 284(1): 54–58, 60–62.


Nelson, Robert H. 1996. How to Reform Grazing Policy: Creating Forage Rights on Federal Rangelands. Competitive Enterprise Institute.


Pieper, R. D. and R. K. Heitschmidt. 1988 (March/April). Is Short-Duration Grazing the Answer? Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 43(2): 133–37.


Power, Thomas Michael. 1996. Lost Landscapes and Failed Economies: The Search for a Value of Place. Washington, DC: Island Press.


Rogers, Paul and Jennifer LaFleur. 1999 (6 November). Cash Cows. San Jose Mercury News.


Savory, A. 1988. Holistic Resource Management. Washington: Island Press.


Wilcove, David S., David Rothstein, Jason Dubow, Ali Phillips, and Elizabeth Losos. 1998 (August). Quantifying Threats to Imperiled Species in the United States. BioScience, 48(8): 607–15.
 

resignd Cannot remove (139)
Monday March 21, 2011, 5:07 pm
The long quote I just posted has more by this very informed writer in the comments following the article about Welfare Ranchers. There are at least two more long comments I could post but not sure if it is acceptable to do that. My problem is that I already sent my signature on the petition and would have loved to quoted these links above. If anyone would do that with their signature on the petition to their legislators it would certainly help inform them. It seems there is just too much legislation for them to look up and become educated about on the non-lobbyist side of issues and maybe they want to vote for the benefit of everyone but just get overwhelmed. Boy, I sure would. I will post just one more comment by this guy, Rick Meril. He should be an advisor to the legislators considering this issue.

By rick meril, 9-02-10
The Wolves of Yellowstone
“The wolf is a monstrosity of nature…possessing the cruelty of Satan himself.”
—The Dillon Montana Examiner, 1921

Perhaps no other large predator is more deeply embedded in our psy-che than the wolf. Vilified through-out history in both legend and lit-erature, humans had effectively eradicated wolves from Europe by 1850. In the United States, the gov-ernment declared a war of extermi-nation against gray wolves (Canis lupus) beginning in the early 1800s. Hunters, ranchers, and farmers ea-gerly enlisted, using lethal traps and meat laced with strychnine and ground glass as weapons. But it was government bounties that spelled the end of Canis lupus. Be-tween 1883 and 1914 bounty hunt-ers killed 81,000 wolves in Mon-tana alone. By the 1930s, only a few hundred of the original popula-tion of 2-3 million wolves re-mained in the United States.
Over the next few decades, a growing number of studies repeat-edly showed that wolves were not responsible for the decimation of game species, and in fact kept populations of deer, elk, and moose at healthy levels. Nor did wolves cause any significant damage to livestock as had been universally assumed.
Despite intensive research, bi-ologists were also unable to docu-ment a single instance of wolves causing the death of a human being anywhere in the world. Still the slaughter went on. Not until the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 did the killing of wolves become a crime punishable by a $50,000 fine and up to a year in jail. But by then wolf popula-tions, which had once inhabited an area stretching from Alaska to Mexico, were largely extinct in the lower United States save for small populations in Minnesota and Michigan.
The Endangered Species Act not only offered protection to species threatened with extinction, it also provided for their reintroduction into former habitats. In 1987 the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan recommended that the gray wolf by reintroduced into Yellow Stone National Park.
Created in 1872 by an act of Congress, Yellowstone was the Nation’s first national park. In to-tal, 8893 square kilometers were set aside to preserve “natural curiosi-ties and wonders”, and all “wanton destruction” within the park was prohibited. Unfortunately this re-striction did not apply to Yellow-stone’s wolf population. In 1914 Congress appropriated funds for “destroying wolves, prairie dogs, and other animals injurious to agri-culture and animal husbandry.” By 1926 the last two wolves remaining in Yellowstone were killed after they were lured to a bison carcass.
In 1995, following eight years of litigation in federal courts, the De-fenders of Wildlife and the US Fish and Wildlife Service finally won a legal mandate to begin the Yellow-stone wolf restoration program. On March 21 fourteen wolves captured in Alberta, Canada, were released into the park. A year later, eleven more wolves were air lifted from British Columbia and set free in the northern range of Yellowstone. By 2003 the Yellowstone wolf popula-tion had grown to 16 packs and 174 individuals.
The successful reintroduction of gray wolves into Yellowstone is one of the most important wildlife conservation projects ever under-taken. The Yellowstone ecosystem now contains all of its original large predators: wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, grizzly bears, and black bears. Major prey include seven species of native ungulates: elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, bison, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope.
For the past ten years biologists from around the world have been studying the impact of wolf preda-tion on the Yellowstone ecosystem. The effects have been profound, rippling through the food web in a cascade of changes. At the center of this web lies the predator-prey relationship between wolves and elk.
The Wolves of Yellowstone 1 of 3 Lister/McDaniel, Ecology 7: Predation
4.17.2006
Copyright © Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc.
Thomson Learning is a trademark used herein under license.
Elk are the preferred prey of Yellowstone wolves, comprising about 92% of all kills. Between 1995 and 2004, Yellowstone wolves killed 1-2 elk per month per pack. From 1981 to 1995, the northern Yellowstone elk herd av-eraged 15,000-16,000 individuals. After the in introduction of wolves, numbers dropped to the 11,000-14,000 range, reaching a low of 8,000 in 2005. As the elk popula-tion declined, profound changes began to occur in the ecosystem’s vegetation. In particular, willow, aspen, and cottonwood trees began to thrive.
Photographs taken in the early 1900s show that young aspen and willows were abundant. But during the 1930s these species stopped regenerating. By the 1990s only very old trees grew in Yellowstone and there was concern that both willows and aspen would die out. Cores taken from 98 aging aspen trees showed that they had essen-tially ceased to grow during the 1920s, at about the same time that the last wolf packs had been elimi-nated. But after the reintroduction of wolves, the dwindling aspen, willows, and cottonwoods began to increase in size and more young trees started to appear, particularly along river beds and other exposed areas.
The wolf-effect theory states that these changes in Yellowstone plant community are the direct re-sult of increased predation on elks. After wolves were extirpated from the Yellowstone, elk populations soared and parts of the ecosystem, such as the Lamar Valley, were virtually denuded of vegetation. Many species, such as songbirds and beavers, disappeared as a re-sult. The reintroduction of wolves reduced the elk population in the northern Yellowstone two-fold and caused a dramatic drop in the con-sumption of vegetation. The resur-gence of trees has been most pro-nounced in areas where browsing elks are more exposed to wolf pre-dation. Elks now avoid feeding in open, low lying areas, especially along small streams such as the Soda Butte creek (see photos on left), and forage preferentially on higher ground where they can bet-ter detect and escape from wolves.
The resurgence of tree growth in the Yellowstone ecosystem has allowed beavers to reinvade their former habitats. The re-growth of willows has provided a long absent source of food, and beaver dams are starting to appear throughout the park. These dams in turn have had a profound effect on species diversity. The pools of water be-hind the dams further encourage the growth of trees, shrubs, and succulent vegetation which pro-vided food and shelter for dozens of other species such as insects, rodents, warblers and other song birds. Beaver ponds also create new habitat for otters, muskrats, moose, and numerous fish species.
Besides elk, another species dramatically affected by wolves has been the coyote. Before the reintro-duction program began, coyotes were abundant with an average density of .5 individuals per km2. Within two years of the release of wolves into the park, wolf attacks had caused a 90% decline in coyote abundance within wolf pack territo-ries.
Once again the reduction in numbers of one species within the Yellowstone food web caused a radiating wave of effects on other species. The main prey of coyotes – voles, mice, and other rodents, have undergone a population explosion. This has had a positive impact on the competitors of the coyote such as foxes and birds of prey. The survival of pronghorn fawns, a fa-vorite food of coyotes, has also increased and pronghorn numbers are starting to grow.
When wolves kill a large prey species, they typically consume only about half of their victim. The remains are eaten by a variety of scavengers. Soon after the return of wolves to Yellowstone, park biolo-gists noted an increase in many of these species including magpies, ravens, eagles, and grizzly bears. Wolf kills are an especially impor-tant source of food for ravens, and they have benefited the most from
Pictures from 1991 (top) and 2002 (bottom) along Soda Butte Creek in Yellowstone National Park. In 1991, before wolf introductions, growth of cottonwoods (low shrubby vegetation in foreground) was suppressed due to high levels of elk herbivory. In 2002, six years after wolves were introduced, the cottonwoods had grown into meter tall bushes.
The Wolves of Yellowstone 2 of 3 Lister/McDaniel, Ecology 7: Predation
4.17.2006
Copyright © Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc.
Thomson Learning is a trademark used herein under license.
the presence of wolves. The num-ber of ravens attracted to a wolf kills illustrates the beneficial inter-action with wolves: the average is 30 individuals, with 135 being the largest number recorded to date.
The Yellowstone wolves have greatly enhanced our understanding of ecosystem functioning and the central role of top predators in maintaining ecosystem integrity. Like any complex system, how-ever, Yellowstone has many com-ponents that interact in myriad ways. In many cases the interac-tions are nonlinear, meaning that small changes can have big effects. Observed changes in the system can also result from multiple fac-tors such as weather, disease, and random fluctuations in births and deaths, about which we have little or no information. Much remains to be discovered about the ecology of the Yellowstone and many more years of study are needed. Perhaps the most important message from the wolves of Yellowstone to date is that in nature everything is con-nected to everything else.
References
Robbins, J. 2004. Lessons from the wolf. Scientific American. June 2004: 76-81.
Smith, D., R. Peterson, and D. Houston. 2003. Yellowstone after Wolves. BioScience 53: 330-340
The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone has had far reaching effects, impacting the structure and diversity of the entire ecosystem. Besides being a conservation success story, the program has become a case study in the ecological importance of top predators. Some of the species in the Yellowstone food web affected by wolves: (clockwise from top): elk, cottonwoods, beaver, muskrat, moose, raven, magpie, grizzly, vole, coyote, yellow warbler, and aspen.
The Wolves of Yellowstone 3 of 3 Lister/McDaniel, Ecology 7: Predation
4.17.2006
 

resignd Cannot remove (139)
Monday March 21, 2011, 5:14 pm
The comments by this guy and input from others in the discussion section of this article is absolutely intellectual and yet easy for non biologists to understand. Anyone who is really interested in this subject should make an effort to read the comments. I just couldn't stop reading them.
 

Maria P. (151)
Tuesday March 22, 2011, 4:30 am
signed and noted
 

Krista Tackett (48)
Sunday March 27, 2011, 9:33 am


Thank you for taking action last week on behalf of threatened species by writing Congress to save their skins! You have joined almost 20,000 others who have declared their support for these iconic creatures such as the wolf, the salmon, and the polar bear.

Would you take the next step by asking your friends to speak out on behalf of endangered species? We've set a goal of getting 37,000 letters to Congress, 1,000 for each year since the introduction of the Endangered Species Act. We've still got a ways to go and can't get there without you.

Here's how you can help:


Tell your friends on Facebook. Click here to post a link on your wall and encourage them to take action!

Tell your friends on Twitter. Click here to tweet about this important action to keep wolves and other species protected.

Email your friends. You can forward this message right now and point them to this link: http://earthjustice.org/sosaction
Inspire them by what motivated you to already take action.


Together, we can reach that goal of 37,000 signatures to Congress.

If you or your friends want to learn more about the Save Our Skins campaign, visit our site where you'll find more information about what's going on in Congress, plus perspectives from the animals themselves!

Read the funny, irreverent tweets from the wolf, who fancies himself as a Chuck Norris action hero, or the slightly neurotic observations of the salmon who doesn't seem to realize that humans do like salmon -- just not in the way they like their dogs and cats. Each animal has a page and video of their own:

The Wolf: Visit Page | Share on Facebook | Tweet

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©2011 Earthjustice | 426 17th Street, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612 | 510-550-6700 | action@earthjustice.org
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Spread the Word: Share this action:

 

Gudrun D. (419)
Sunday March 27, 2011, 11:53 am
We're sorry, but you have already taken action on this alert! Thanks Krista.
 

Ruth McD (724)
Sunday March 27, 2011, 12:08 pm
Signed.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 27, 2011, 12:23 pm
Noted, thanks...have already signed for hubby and myself.
 

Toni C. (508)
Sunday March 27, 2011, 12:25 pm
Noted and signed. thanks for the article. The reicht wing seems to hold no regard for human life, so why should it hold any for the animals. they're a cruel and heartless lot and need to be voted out of office as soon as humanly possible. Then perhaps we can see some changes made.
 

Tammy V. (119)
Sunday March 27, 2011, 12:53 pm
Thank you! Love the Earth!
 

Kim O. (398)
Sunday March 27, 2011, 1:03 pm
Noted and signed! Thanks Krista!!
 

Sandy G. (35)
Sunday March 27, 2011, 1:03 pm
Already signed and gladly.
 

AniMae Chi (411)
Sunday March 27, 2011, 3:54 pm
We're sorry, but you have already taken action on this alert!

Than.q
 

Michael Carney (211)
Sunday March 27, 2011, 6:18 pm
Noted, I have already taken action on this alert...I just wish they'd leave these Animals alone...
 

Chris E. (50)
Monday March 28, 2011, 12:50 am
Noted and signed earlier.
 

Ira M. (211)
Monday June 6, 2011, 1:52 pm
Signed and noted. Thank you!
 

Spencer O. (0)
Wednesday October 26, 2011, 7:47 pm
You're all idiots. Relocation of wolves in the US would be devastating. There's a reason we killed them off by the 30's.
 

Ruth McD (724)
Monday January 9, 2012, 9:25 pm
N & S. Thanks Krista.
 
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