Wolf reintroduction

Wolf reintroduction involves the reestablishment of a portion of gray wolves in areas where native wolves have been extirpated. Reintroduction is only considered where large tracts of suitable wilderness still exist and where certain prey species are abundant enough to support a predetermined wolf population.

United States

Arizona and New Mexico

Captive bred Mexican wolf in pen, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge.

The five last known wild Mexican gray wolves were captured in 1980 in accordance with an agreement between the United States and Mexico intended to save the critically endangered subspecies. Between 1982 and 1998 a comprehensive captive breeding program brought Mexican wolves back from the brink of extinction. Over 30 captive Mexican wolves were part of the recovery program.

The ultimate goal for these wolves, however, is to reintroduce them to areas of their former range. In March 1998, this reintroduction campaign began with the releasing of three packs into the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona, and eleven wolves into the Blue Range Wilderness Area of New Mexico.[1] Today, there may be up to 100 wild Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. The final goal for Mexican wolf recovery is a wild, self-sustaining population of at least 300 individuals.[2]


Yellowstone wolfmap
Map showing wolf packs in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as of 2002.

Grey wolf packs were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and Idaho starting in 1995. The subspecies native to the Yellowstone area prior to extirpation was the Northern Rocky Mountains wolf (Canis lupus irremotus) however the species that was reintroduced was the Mackenzie Valley wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis) though both subspecies were similar and their range overlapped across the region (needs citation). These wolves were considered as “experimental, non-essential” populations per article 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Such classification gave government officials greater leeway in managing wolves to protect livestock, which was considered one of a series of compromises wolf reintroduction proponents made with concerned local ranchers.

Indeed, local industry and environmental groups battled for decades over the Yellowstone and Idaho wolf reintroduction effort. The idea of wolf reintroduction was first brought to Congress in 1966 by biologists who were concerned with the critically high elk populations in Yellowstone and the ecological damages to the land from excessively large herds. Officially, 1926 was the year that the last wolves were killed within Yellowstone’s boundaries. When the wolves were eradicated and hunting eliminated, the elk population boomed. Over the succeeding decades, elk populations grew so large that they unbalanced the local ecosystem. The number of elk and other large prey animals increased to the point that they gathered in large herds along valley bottoms and meadows overgrazing new-growth vegetation. Because of overgrazing, deciduous woody plant species such as upland aspen and riparian cottonwood became seriously diminished. So, because the keystone predators, the wolves, had been removed from the Yellowstone-Idaho ecosystem, the ecosystem changed. This change affected other species as well. Coyotes filled in the niche left by wolves, but couldn't control the large ungulate populations. Booming coyote numbers, furthermore, also had a negative effect on other species, particularly the red fox, pronghorn, and domestic sheep. Ranchers, though, remained steadfastly opposed to reintroducing a species of animal that they considered to be analogous to a plague, citing the hardships that would ensue with the potential loss of stock caused by wolves.[3]

The government, which was charged with creating, implementing, and enforcing a compromise, struggled for over two decades to find middle ground. A wolf recovery team was appointed in 1974, and the first official recovery plan was released for public comment in 1982. General public apprehension regarding wolf recovery forced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revise their plan to implement more control for local and state governments, so a second recovery plan was released for public comment in 1985. That same year, a poll conducted at Yellowstone National Park showed that 74% of visitors thought wolves would improve the park, while 60% favored reintroducing them. The preparation of an environmental impact statement, the last critical step before reintroduction could be green-lighted, was halted when Congress insisted that further research be done before an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was to be funded.

People look on as the grey wolves are trucked through Roosevelt Arch, Yellowstone National Park, January 1995.

In 1987, in an effort to shift the burden of financial responsibility from ranchers to the proponents of wolf reintroduction, Defenders of Wildlife set up a “wolf compensation fund” that would use donations to pay ranchers market value for any stock that was lost to wolf depredation. That same year, a final recovery plan was released. Following a long period of research, public education, and public commenting, a draft EIS was released for public review in 1993 and it received over 150,000 comments from interested parties. It was finalized in May 1994, and included a clause that specified that all wolves reintroduced to the recovery zones would be classified under the “experimental, non-essential” provision of the ESA. Though the original plan called for three recovery zones – one in Idaho, another in Montana, and a final one in the Greater Yellowstone Area – the Montana recovery zone was eliminated from the final EIS after it had been proven that a small, but breeding population had already established itself in the northwestern part of the state. The plan stipulated that each of the three recovery areas must have ten breeding pairs of wolves successfully rearing two or more pups for three consecutive years before the minimum recovery goals would be reached.

Reintroduced wolves being carried to acclimation pens, Yellowstone National Park, January, 1995
Reintroduced wolves being carried to acclimation pens, Yellowstone National Park, January 1995.

A pair of lawsuits filed in late 1994 put the recovery plan in jeopardy. While one of the lawsuits was filed by the Wyoming Farm Bureau, the other was filed by a coalition of concerned environmental groups including the Idaho Conservation League and Audubon Society. The latter group pointed to unofficial wolf sightings as proof that wolves had already migrated down to Yellowstone from the north, which, they argued, made the plan to reintroduce an experimental population in the same area unlawful. According to their argument, if wolves were already present in Yellowstone, they should rightfully be afforded full protection under the ESA, which, they reasoned, was preferable to the limited “experimental” classification that would be given to any reintroduced wolves.[4]

Wolf in Yellowstone National Park NPS15047
Wolf in acclimation pen, Yellowstone National Park.

Nevertheless, both cases were thrown out on January 3, 1995. Adolescent members from packs of Mackenzie Valley wolves in Alberta, Canada were tranquilized and carted down to the recovery zones later that week, but a last minute court order delayed the planned releases. The stay came from an appellate court in Denver and was instigated by the Wyoming Farm Bureau. After spending an additional 36 hours in transport cages in Idaho and in their holding pens in Yellowstone, the wolves were finally released following official judicial sanction. Yellowstone’s wolves stayed in acclimation pens for two more months before being released into the wild. Idaho’s wolves, conversely, were given a hard (or immediate) release. A total of 66 wolves were released to the two areas in this manner in January 1995 and January 1996.

2005 estimates of wolf populations in the two recovery zones reflect the success the species has had in both areas:

  • Greater Yellowstone Area: 325
  • Central Idaho: 565

These numbers, added with the estimated number of wolves in northwestern Montana (130), puts the total number of wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains recovery area at over 1000 individuals. This includes approximately 134 packs (two or more wolves traveling together) and 71 breeding pairs (male and female that successfully rear a litter of at least two until Dec. 31). The recovery goal for the area was revised to 30 breeding pairs total, and this number has been surpassed for some time.[5]

Current wolf population statistics can be found at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/

Over the decades since wolves have been present in the region, there have been hundreds of confirmed incidents of livestock depredation, though such predation represents a minute proportion of a wolf’s diet on a per wolf basis. While the majority of wolves ignore livestock entirely, a few wolves or wolf packs will become chronic livestock hunters, and most of these have been killed to protect livestock. Since the year Defenders of Wildlife implemented their compensation fund, they have allocated over $1,400,000 to private owners for proven and probable livestock depredation by wolves. Opponents argue that the Yellowstone reintroductions were unnecessary, as American wolves were never in danger of biological extinction since wolves still persisted in Canada. Opponents have also stated that wolves are of little commercial benefit, as cost estimates on wolf recovery are from $200,000 to $1 million per wolf. But the Lamar Valley is one of the best places in the world to observe wolves, and tourism based on wolves is booming.[6] The growing wolf-viewing outfitting trend contrasts with declines for big game hunters. National Park Service Biologist Wayne Brewster informed guides and outfitters living north of Yellowstone National Park, to expect a fifty percent (50%) drop in harvestable game when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park.[7] This was confirmed when in 2006, the Yellowstone elk herd had in fact shrunk to 50% since the mid 1990s though researchers documented that most of the elk that fell prey to wolves were very old, diseased, or very young. Two 30-day periods of tracking radio collared wolves showed that 77–97% of prey species documented by wolves in the park were elk. Outside the park, numerous hunting outfitters have closed due to the concomitant 90% reduction in elk permits.[8] Defenders of Wildlife transitioned from paying compensation to helping ranchers utilize nonlethal methods to better protect livestock from wolf predation. These methods include carcass removal to reduce attractants to scavengers, increased human presence near livestock, lighting, herd management, livestock guard dogs, and other measures (see http://www.defenders.org/sites/default/files/publications/livestock_and_wolves.pdf for more information).

The reintroduction of wolves, an apex predator, has had important impacts on biodiversity within Yellowstone National Park. Through predation of elk populations, wolf reintroduction has coincided with an increase of new-growth vegetation among certain plants, such as aspen and willow trees,[9] which elk previously grazed upon at unsustainable levels. Presence of wolves has even changed behavioral patterns of other animals. Elk have quit venturing into deeper thickets, out of fear of being attacked by wolves in an area of such low visibility. Elk have also begun avoiding open areas such as valley bottoms and open meadows where, prior to wolf introduction, the elk grazed collectively and avoided predation from mountain lions and bears. This process of top predators regulating the lower sections of the trophic pyramid was dubbed, "the ecology of fear" by William J. Ripple and Robert L. Bestcha[10] In addition to the restoration of vegetation several important species such as the beaver[9] (which also became extinct in the park) and red fox have also recovered, probably due to the wolves keeping coyote populations under control.[11]

The Idaho state government opposed the reintroduction of wolves into the state and many ranchers and hunters there feel as if the wolves were forced onto the state by the federal government. The state's wolf management plan is prefaced by the legislature's memorial declaring that the official position of the state is the removal of all wolves by any means necessary. Because of the state of Idaho's refusal to participate in wolf restoration, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nez Perce tribe initially managed the wolf population there since the reintroduction. During that time, the Idaho wolf population had made the most remarkable comeback in the region with its abundant federal lands and wilderness areas peaking at nearly 900 wolves (almost half of the regional wolf population) in 2009. However, the wolves have increasingly blamed for livestock and hunting opportunity losses. The US Fish and Wildlife Service attempted twice to delist wolves from federal protection and turn them over to state management but both of those attempts were found unlawful by the federal court in Missoula, Montana. In order to quell the political battle between the ranchers, hunters and conservationists, members of Congress removed Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in 2011 and gave wolf management to the states of Idaho and Montana under state wolf management plans. Since that time, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has also delisted wolves from federal protection in Wyoming and the state now has authority over wolf management there as well. This decision is also being challenged as unlawful in court in 2013.

Despite being approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Idaho’s proposed management plan is still shrouded in controversy. The plan [12] calls for 10 breeding pairs in Idaho or 100 to 150 wolves. Compared with the states' other wildlife numbers (e.g. 2000 - 3000 mountain lions, 20,000 American black bears, 100,000 elk and several hundred thousand mule deer), conservationists are concerned that too few wolves are protected under the plan. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Services guidelines the Idaho wolf population needs to stay above 100 individuals for the species to stay off the endangered species list and remain a viable, self-sustaining population. However, there is much evidence that shows that a much larger wolf population can survive in Idaho without having major impacts on livestock and hunting opportunities.

In adjacent Washington State, wolves were not reintroduced, but populations have been reestablished through the natural expansion of the Idaho population. By 2008, wolves had established a permanent toehold in Washington, and have increased their number every year since. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife tracks the "minimum numbers" of wolves. This number in only counts wolves in known packs that den inside the State. Lone wolves, suspected packs, and packs that range into the State but den outside the State are not counted. In 2008, this "minimum number" was 5; by the end of 2014 it was 68. Known wolf packs are concentrated in the northeastern corner of the state, but there are also packs in the central Cascades. In 2015, a wolf was killed on Interstate 90, approximately 10 west of the Snoqualmie Pass, proving the wolves are expanding westward.[13]

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Red wolves were once native to the southeastern United States, but the last wolf seen in the vicinity of the park was in 1905. In 1991, two pairs were reintroduced into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Despite some early success, the program was cancelled in 1998 due to the death of wolf pups from malnutrition and disease, and the wolves roaming beyond the boundaries of the park.[14] The wolves were relocated to North Carolina in 1998, ending the effort to reintroduce the species to the park.

North and South Carolina

Canis rufus walking in forest cropped
Canis rufus walking in forest

In Dec. 1976, two wolves were released onto Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge's Bulls Island in South Carolina with the intent of testing and honing reintroduction methods. They were not released with the intent of beginning a permanent population on the island.[15] The first experimental trans location lasted for 11 days, during which a mated pair of red wolves were monitored day and night with remote telemetry. A second experimental trans location was tried in 1978 with a different mated pair, and they were allowed to remain on the island for close to nine months.[15] After that, a larger project was executed in 1987 to reintroduce a permanent population of red wolves back to the wild in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (ARNWR) on the eastern coast of North Carolina. Also in 1987, Bulls Island became the first island breeding site. Pups were raised on the island and relocated to North Carolina until 2005.[16]

In September 1987, four male-female pairs of red wolves were released in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina and designated as an experimental population. Since then, the experimental population has grown and the recovery area expanded to include four national wildlife refuges, a Department of Defense bombing range, state-owned lands, and private lands, encompassing about 1,700,000 acres (6,900 km2).[17]

According to the latest Red Wolf Recovery Program First Quarter Report (October–December 2010), the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that there are currently 110-130 red wolves in the Red Wolf Recovery Area in North Carolina, however, since not all of the newly bred in the wild red wolves have radio collars, they can only confirm a total of 70 "known" individuals, 26 packs, 11 breeding pairs, and 9 additional individuals not associated with a pack.[18]

Interbreeding with the coyote (a species not native to North Carolina) has been recognized as a threat affecting the restoration of red wolves. Currently, adaptive management efforts are making progress in reducing the threat of coyotes to the red wolf population in northeastern North Carolina. Other threats, such as habitat fragmentation, disease, and anthropogenic mortality, are of concern in the restoration of red wolves. Efforts to reduce the threats are presently being explored.[18]

Over 30 facilities participate in the red wolf Species Survival Plan and oversee the breeding and reintroduction of over 150 wolves.[19]

Gulf coast

In 1989, the second island propagation project was initiated with release of a population on Horn Island off the Mississippi coast. This population was removed in 1998 because of a likelihood of encounters with humans. The third island propagation project introduced a population on St. Vincent Island, Florida offshore between Cape San Blas and Apalachicola, Florida in 1990, and in 1997 the fourth island propagation program introduced a population to Cape St. George Island, Florida south of Apalachicola, Florida.


Northern Europe

In Sweden and Norway, there has been a long and ongoing conflict between some groups whose belief it is that wolves have no place in human inhabited areas and those who wish the wolf to be allowed to expand out into more of the area’s vast boreal forests. The former mostly consists of members of the rural working class who fear competition for certain large ungulate species (roe deer, moose, etc.), and who consider the wolf to be a foreign element. They argue that modern Scandinavian wolves are actually recent migrants from Russia and not the remnants of old native wolf packs, which, they reason, is why they do not belong in Sweden and Norway.

Scandinavian wolves had been nearly completely eliminated from the range due to extirpation campaigns in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and were considered to be gone from the area by the 1960s. In the early 1980s, however, a single breeding pack was discovered in southern Sweden, over 1000 km away from the nearest known population in Russia or Eastern Finland. The pack was small – about ten animals – and it stayed that way for many years until its population began to noticeably increase starting in 1991. Prior to 1991, the small population lacked ideal genetic diversity, and inbreeding had been occurring to a potentially dangerous degree. Furthermore, low birth rates suggest that the wolves were apprehensive to mate with each other, which was most likely due to their close relation. Genetic data suggests that, in 1991, a lone immigrant wolf from Russia migrated to the area and single-handedly restored genetic diversity to the population. A particular study showed that of the 72 wolves born between 1993 and 2001, 68 of them could trace their genetic heritage to this lone migrant wolf. Today, there are over one hundred individuals that range across this southern area of Scandinavia.[20] The population remains genetically isolated, however, which is a cause of concern for some. On the other hand, there is reason to believe that as the number of wolves living in this area increases, the boundaries of the population's range will creep towards the ranges of other, separate populations in Finland, thus promoting dispersal. Direct reintroduction remains an intriguing option to foster genetic diversity in the Scandinavian population in the meantime.

There has been much speculation as to how the original population came to be in the early 1980s. Some believe that they might be a native species – remnants of a population that somehow survived persecution. Much genetic research has been performed on this population, however, and this particular theory isn’t supported by the findings. Genetic analysis seems to support the idea that the wolves were immigrants that had traveled over 1000 km from Russia to southern Scandinavia along one of several possible dispersal routes. Certain people believe that they were artificially reintroduced per some secret agenda by the Swedish government.[21]

Central and Western Europe

In several areas in Europe, reintroduction of wolves to areas where they have become extinct is being actively considered. Charities in many European countries including Denmark, Germany, Italy, Ireland and the United Kingdom [22] are also advocating the reintroduction of wolves to specific rural and forested areas. Most plans have been met with a mixture of enthusiasm and unease by different population groups. Opponents fear the loss of livestock that may result from their reintroduction. In several countries, charity based compensation plans (similar to those that operate in the USA) have been proposed.

The reintroduction of wolves to Scotland and England is currently being considered, along with bears and lynx, as part of a larger effort to reintroduce native species to the country.[23][24][25]


  1. ^ "Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program" U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; archived here [1] by WebCite
  2. ^ "USFWS" (PDF). 2014 Mexican Wolf Population Survey Complete – Population Exceeds 100 -.
  3. ^ "A problem has occurred" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Defenders of Wildlife". A Yellowstone Chronology. Archived from the original on June 2, 2006. Retrieved May 3, 2006.
  5. ^ "USFWS" (PDF). Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2005 Interagency Annual Report. Retrieved May 3, 2006.
  6. ^ Brodie Farquhar. "Gray Wolves increase tourism in Yellowstone National Park". Yellowstone Journal and YellowstonePark.com.
  7. ^ "Fact Sheet- Wolf Reintroduction in the United States". Abundant Wildlife Society of North America. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  8. ^ Miniter, Frank (2007). The Politically Incorrect Guide to Hunting. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing. p. 269. ISBN 1-59698-521-6.
  9. ^ a b "Beyond the Headlines". Living on Earth. March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  10. ^ Ripple, W; Beschta R: "Wolves and the Ecology of Fear: Can Predation Risk Structure", page 761, "Bioscience", 2004 Vol. 54 No. 8.
  11. ^ "Lessons from the Wolf – Bringing the top predator back to Yellowstone has triggered a cascade of unanticipated changes in the park's ecosystem". Retrieved May 24, 2006.
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 12, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  13. ^ "Threatened and Endangered Species in Washington: 2012 Annual Report" (PDF).
  14. ^ Mansfield, Duncan (October 18, 1998). "Red wolf re-introduction program ends in Great Smoky Mountains". The Durant Daily Democrat. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  15. ^ a b Carley, Curtis J. 1979. "Report on the Successful Trans location Experiment of Red Wolves (Canis rufus) to Bulls Island, S.C." Presentation at the Portland Wolf Symposium, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon, August 13–17, 1979.
  16. ^ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cape Romain NWR, red wolf web page Archived January 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ USFWS.2010. Red Wolf Recovery Program, 1st Quarter Report, October–December 2010, Manteco, NC.
  18. ^ a b "Current Red Wolf Facts," found on the Red Wolf Recovery web page, http://www.fws.gov/redwolf/index.html, accessed on July 5, 2011.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 24, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  20. ^ "Nature". Conservation biology: Lone wolf to the rescue. Retrieved May 4, 2006.
  21. ^ "Wildlife Biology" (PDF). The origin of the southern Scandinavian wolf ‘’Canis Lupus’’ population. Retrieved May 4, 2006.
  22. ^ "BBC NEWS - Science/Nature - Wild wolves 'good for ecosystems'".
  23. ^ Heritage, MHMG - Scottish Natural. "Reintroducing native species - Scottish Natural Heritage".
  24. ^ "The big predator debate". July 22, 2013 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  25. ^ "Reintroducing the wolf to Scotland - Wolves and Humans Foundation".

Further reading

  • Bowen, 'Asta (January 13, 1997). Wolf: A Journey Home. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-82361-4. Based on true accounts of the Pleasant Valley, Montana wolf pack, the novel traces the life of a female alpha wolf named Marta after the forced relocation of her pack in 1989 to a strange area, and her journey to return home that results in her settling in Ninemile Valley, where she finds a new mate with whom she starts a new pack.

External links

'Asta Bowen

'Asta Bowen is an American young adult writer. She's best known for her novel Wolf: The Journey Home.

Alma, New Mexico

Alma is an unincorporated community in Catron County, New Mexico, United States, north of Glenwood and south of Reserve.

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is the largest of the National Forests in Montana, United States. Covering 3.36 million acres (13,600 km2), the forest is broken into nine separate sections and stretches across eight counties in the southwestern area of the state. President Theodore Roosevelt named the two forests in 1908 and they were merged in 1996. Forest headquarters are located in Dillon, Montana. In Roosevelt's original legislation, the Deerlodge National Forest was called the Big Hole Forest Reserve. He created this reserve because the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, based in Butte, Montana, had begun to clearcut the upper Big Hole River watershed. The subsequent erosion, exacerbated by smoke pollution from the Anaconda smelter, was devastating the region. Ranchers and conservationists alike complained to Roosevelt, who made several trips to the area.

(Munday 2001)

The greatest part of the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness is located in the larger Beaverhead National Forest portion of 2,130,671 acres (8,622.52 km2), which is 64% of the total area of the forest. The rest of this wilderness extends into the neighboring Deerlodge and Bitterroot National Forests. The Beaverhead section includes most of the Pioneer, Gravelly, and Sapphire Ranges. Both the Centennial and Bitterroot mountain ranges are also located here, with the Continental divide found in the Bitterroot range. Lemhi Pass, at an elevation 7,323 feet (2,300 m) above sea level, is a rounded saddle in the Beaverhead Mountains of the Bitterroot Range, along the Continental Divide, between Montana and Idaho. Here, in 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition first saw the headwaters of the Columbia River, which flow to the Pacific Ocean, and crossed what was then the western boundary of the United States. Lemhi Pass was the point at which the members of the expedition realized that there was not a waterway that would lead from east to west across the continent. Lemhi Pass was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. The Lee Metcalf Wilderness, in the Madison mountain range, is a part of what is known as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. However, most of the Lee Metcalf lies in neighboring Gallatin National Forest. The Beaverhead section lies, in descending order of land area, in parts of Beaverhead, Madison, Deer Lodge, and Silver Bow counties. There are local ranger district offices located in Dillon, Ennis, Wisdom, and Wise River.

The smaller Deerlodge National Forest portion of 1,227,155 acres (4,966.12 km2), at 37% of the total area of the forest, encompasses much of the Tobacco Root Mountains and Flint Creek Range and parts of the Elkhorn Mountains; it straddles the Continental Divide in the Boulder and Highland Mountains. A number of ghost towns serve as reminders of the extensive mining history of the region. The Deerlodge portion of the forest, located northwest of the Beaverhead portion, lies in sections of Granite, Jefferson, Silver Bow, Deer Lodge, Powell, and Madison counties. There are local ranger district offices located in Butte, Philipsburg, and Whitehall.

Ponderosa pine, and various species of fir, spruce and juniper are the dominant tree species. Almost a third of the forest lands have no forest at all, and are instead rangeland with sagebrush, grass and the occasional cactus. The forest is also home to the grizzly bear, Canadian lynx, bald eagle, bull trout, Arctic grayling, and the wolf, the latter being a migrant from northern Montana and from the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction program. Elk, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep and pronghorn and black bear are more commonly found.

The highest mountains in the forest top out at over 11,000 feet (3,400 m). The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and the Nez Perce National Historical Trail both pass through sections of the forest. In total, there are over 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of hiking trails, 50 campgrounds, dozens of lake and river boating access points and even 250 miles (400 km) of groomed snowmobile trails.

Forest Service offices administering the National Forest are in Butte, Dillon (which is the headquarters location), Philipsburg, Deer Lodge, Whitehall, Boulder, Ennis, Sheridan, Wise River, Wisdom, and Lima. Interstate 15 and Interstate 90, Montana Highway 43 and Montana Highway 278, and the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway all provide access to forest service roads, trailheads and local communities near the forest.

Bridger Wilderness

The Bridger Wilderness is located in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, United States. Originally established in 1931 as a primitive area, 428,169-acre (1,732.74 km2) region was redesignated as a wilderness in 1964 and expanded to the current size in 1984. The wilderness lies on the west side of the Continental Divide in the Wind River Range and contains Gannett Peak; at 13,809 feet (4,209 m) it is the tallest mountain in Wyoming. The wilderness is a part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

U.S. Wilderness Areas do not allow motorized or mechanized vehicles, including bicycles. Although camping and fishing are allowed with proper permit, no roads or buildings are constructed and there is also no logging or mining, in compliance with the 1964 Wilderness Act. Wilderness areas within National Forests and Bureau of Land Management areas also allow hunting in season.

There are 600 miles (970 km) of hiking trails maintained in the wilderness, but with much of the terrain being steep and with many large mountain peaks to climb, many trails provide access climbing routes. Camping is permitted as long as a distance of at least 200 feet (61 m) minimum is maintained away from lakes and streams. Due to the high altitude associated with this wilderness, it is not uncommon to have freezing weather, especially at night anytime of the year. In the summer months mosquitos can also be a problem.

The largest glaciers in Bridger-Teton National Forest are found in the wilderness. While lower slopes of the mountainsides are dominated by aspen and lodgepole pine, the upper altitudes include lodgepole pine, and numerous species of spruce and fir. Above the timberline at 10,300 feet (3,100 m), the plants are delicate and subject to high human impact and care must be used to stay on trails to minimize natural resource impact which can take decades or more for recovery. Infrequent and rare sightings of grizzly bears have been recorded but black bears are much more common. In addition, most of the megafauna originally indigenous to the region still exist in the wilderness including moose, elk, mule deer, wolverine, bighorn sheep and mountain lion. There have been unconfirmed reports of wolf sightings which may be true due to wolf reintroduction commenced in the late 20th century in Yellowstone National Park to the north. Numerous bird species are found including bald eagle, osprey, peregrine falcon and Clark's nutcracker. The streams have long been home to several species of trout, but stocking of the lakes has increased their numbers there along with mountain whitefish and grayling.

Crying Wolf

Crying Wolf Exposing the Wolf Reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park is a 2011 independent documentary film by Jeffrey D. King, the founder of Broken Hints Media. It delves into the controversial Wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone issue, as well as environmentalism and conservationism in general from a Christian perspective.

Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) is one of the last remaining large, nearly intact ecosystems in the northern temperate zone of the Earth. It is located within the northern Rocky Mountains, in areas of northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana, and eastern Idaho, and is about 18 million acres. Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone Caldera 'hotspot' are within it.Conflict over ecological and resource management has been controversial, and the area is a flagship site among conservation groups that promote ecosystem management. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) is one of the world's foremost natural laboratories in landscape ecology and Holocene geology, and is a world-renowned recreational destination. It is also home to the diverse native plants and animals of Yellowstone.

History of wolves in Yellowstone

When Yellowstone National Park was created in 1872, gray wolf (Canis lupus) populations were already in decline in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. The creation of the national park did not provide protection for wolves or other predators, and government predator control programs in the first decades of the 1900s essentially helped eliminate the gray wolf from Yellowstone. The last wolves were killed in Yellowstone in 1926. After that time, sporadic reports of wolves still occurred, but scientists confirmed that sustainable wolf populations had been extirpated and were absent from Yellowstone during the mid-1900s.Starting in the 1940s, park managers, biologists, conservationists and environmentalists began what would ultimately turn into a campaign to reintroduce the gray wolf into Yellowstone National Park. When the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was passed, the road to legal reintroduction was clear. In 1995, gray wolves were first reintroduced into Yellowstone in the Lamar Valley. The history of wolves in Yellowstone chronicles the extirpation, absence and reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone, and how the reintroduction was not without controversy or surprises for scientists, governments or park managers.

Intraguild predation

Intraguild predation, or IGP, is the killing and sometimes eating of potential competitors. This interaction represents a combination of predation and competition, because both species rely on the same prey resources and also benefit from preying upon one another. Intraguild predation is common in nature and can be asymmetrical, in which one species feeds upon the other, or symmetrical, in which both species prey upon each other. Because the dominant intraguild predator gains the dual benefits of feeding and eliminating a potential competitor, IGP interactions can have considerable effects on the structure of ecological communities.

J Henry Fair

J Henry Fair is an American photographer, environmental activist, and co-founder of the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, he currently lives and works in New York City.

Local extinction

Local extinction or extirpation is the condition of a species (or other taxon) that ceases to exist in the chosen geographic area of study, though it still exists elsewhere. Local extinctions are contrasted with global extinctions.

Local extinctions may be followed by a replacement of the species taken from other locations; wolf reintroduction is an example of this.

Mark Boyce

Mark Stephen Boyce (born May 24, 1950) is a professor of population ecology in the University of Alberta Department of Biological Sciences, and the Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries and Wildlife. Among other topics, he has written extensively on population viability analysis and resource selection functions. Early work was on demography and life history evolution. In 1993 he began research on habitat selection and the integration of habitats with population biology. He initiated research on elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 1977 and in 1988 was recruited by the National Park Service to build a simulation model to anticipate the consequences of wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park. These simulation models were published by Yellowstone National Park to justify the ultimate release of wolves in 1995. Several graduate students and postdoctoral fellows continued the Yellowstone work.

After moving to the University of Alberta in 1999 most research has been on mammals and birds in Alberta.In 2014, he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Outline of Yellowstone National Park

The following articles relate to the history, geography, geology, flora, fauna, structures and recreation in Yellowstone National Park.

Outline of death

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to death:

Death – termination of all biological functions that sustain a living organism.

Rewilding Britain

Rewilding Britain is an organization founded in 2015 that aims to promote the rewilding of Great Britain. It is a registered charity in England and Wales, and also in Scotland.One of the people involved in setting up the charity was George Monbiot who published Feral, a book about rewilding, in 2013.

Rewilding Britain has called for the reintroduction of predators such as lynx and wolves which were hunted to extinction in Britain centuries ago. Its proposals have been opposed by farmers.. However, in 2018 the Prime Minister launched a 25-year environmental plan which gave encouragement to Rewilding Britain by, for example, supporting the reintroduction of the beaver and recognising the pioneering achievements of the Knepp Estate in lowland rewilding.

San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival

San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF) was a film festival located in San Antonio, Texas. It was founded and organized by Doug Phillips. The Best of Festival or Jubilee Award carried a $101,000 cash prize, the largest single cash prize awarded. The festival was closed in December 2013 due to Vision Forum Ministries shutting down.

Sawtooth Wilderness

The Sawtooth Wilderness is a federally-protected wilderness area that covers 217,088 acres (87,852 ha) of the state of Idaho. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it was designated the Sawtooth Primitive Area in 1937 to preserve the exceptional scenic beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains. On August 22, 1972 Public Law 92-400 designated the Primitive Area as the Sawtooth Wilderness and part of the newly created Sawtooth National Recreation Area. As part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, the Sawtooth Wilderness is an area where human development and use are restricted and people are to remain only visitors. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Sawtooth Wilderness has some of the clearest air in the lower 48 states.

Species translocation

Translocation in wildlife conservation is the capture, transport and release or introduction of species, habitats or other ecological material (such as soil) from one location to another. It contrasts with reintroduction, a term which is generally used to denote the introduction into the wild of species from captive stock.

Translocation is an effective management strategy and important topic in conservation biology. It decreases the risk of extinction by increasing the range of a species, augmenting the numbers in a critical population, or establishing new populations thus reducing the risk of extinction. This improves the level of biodiversity in the ecosystem.

Translocation may be expensive and is often subject to public scrutiny, particularly when the species involved is charismatic or perceived as dangerous (for example wolf reintroduction). Translocation as a tool is used to reduce the risk of a catastrophe to a species with a single population, to improve genetic heterogeneity of separated populations of a species, to aid the natural recovery of a species or re-establish a species where barriers might prevent it from doing so naturally. It is also used to move ecological features out of the way of development.

Several critically endangered plant species in the southwestern Western Australia have either been considered for translocation or trialled. Grevillea scapigera is one such case, threatened by rabbits, dieback and degraded habitat.

Trophic cascade

Trophic cascades are powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems, occurring when a trophic level in a food web is suppressed. For example, a top-down cascade may occur if predators are effective enough in predation to reduce the abundance, or alter the behavior, of their prey, thereby releasing the next lower trophic level from predation (or herbivory if the intermediate trophic level is a herbivore).

The trophic cascade is an ecological concept which has stimulated new research in many areas of ecology. For example, it can be important for understanding the knock-on effects of removing top predators from food webs, as humans have done in many places through hunting and fishing.

A top-down cascade is a trophic cascade where the top consumer/predator controls the primary consumer population. In turn, the primary producer population thrives. The removal of the top predator can alter the food web dynamics. In this case, the primary consumers would overpopulate and exploit the primary producers. Eventually there would not be enough primary producers to sustain the consumer population. Top-down food web stability depends on competition and predation in the higher trophic levels. Invasive species can also alter this cascade by removing or becoming a top predator. This interaction may not always be negative. Studies have shown that certain invasive species have begun to shift cascades; and as a consequence, ecosystem degradation has been repaired.For example, if the abundance of large piscivorous fish is increased in a lake, the abundance of their prey, smaller fish that eat zooplankton, should decrease. The resulting increase in zooplankton should, in turn, cause the biomass of its prey, phytoplankton, to decrease.

In a bottom-up cascade, the population of primary producers will always control the increase/decrease of the energy in the higher trophic levels. Primary producers are plants, phytoplankton and zooplankton that require photosynthesis. Although light is important, primary producer populations are altered by the amount of nutrients in the system. This food web relies on the availability and limitation of resources. All populations will experience growth if there is initially a large amount of nutrients.In a subsidy cascade, species populations at one trophic level can be supplemented by external food. For example, native animals can forage on resources that don't originate in their same habitat, such a native predators eating livestock. This may increase their local abundances thereby affecting other species in the ecosystem and causing an ecological cascade. For example, Luskin et al (2017) found that native animals living protected primary rainforest in Malaysia found food subsidies in neighboring oil palm plantations. This subsidy allowed native animal populations to increase, which then triggered powerful secondary ‘cascading’ effects on forest tree community. Specically, crop-raiding wild boar (Sus scofa) built thousands of nests from the forest understory vegatation and this caused a 62% decline in forest tree sapling density over a 24-year study period. Such cross-boundary subsidy cascades may be widespread in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems and present significant conservation challenges.

These trophic interactions shape patterns of biodiversity globally. Humans and climate change have affected these cascades drastically. One example can be seen with sea otters (Enhydra lutris) on the Pacific coast of the United States of America. Over time, human interactions caused a removal of sea otters. One of their main prey, the pacific purple sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) eventually began to overpopulate. The overpopulation caused increased predation of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera). As a result, there was extreme deterioration of the kelp forests along the California coast. This is why it is important for countries to regulate marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Wolves in Great Britain

Wolves were once present in Great Britain. Early writing from Roman and later Saxon chronicles indicate that wolves appear to have been extraordinarily numerous on the island. Unlike other British animals, wolves were unaffected by island dwarfism, with certain skeletal remains indicating that they may have grown as large as Arctic wolves. The species was exterminated from Britain through a combination of deforestation and active hunting through bounty systems.

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