Essay on Conservation Biology in Yellowstone National Park

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Introduction Yellowstone National Park is located primarily in Wyoming but also extends into Montana and Idaho (Figure 1). Established in 1872, it is thought to be the first National Park in the world (Russell et al. 2004). The park spans an area of 3,468 squares miles and includes lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Park has a large number of megafauna in its region, including the gray wolf. Even when Yellowstone was created, the gray wolf population was already in decline. By the early 1990’s, most of the population had been killed and scientists confirmed that sustainable Gray wolf populations had been extirpated (Creel and Rotella, 2010). When the park first opened there were no laws to protect wildlife and any …show more content…

In regards to Conservation Biology, this project included working with endangered species, predator control management practices, and top down trophic cascades and their effects on the food chain. By observing and practicing these topics and management methods, the park was able to successfully reduce the negative impacts on the parks ecosystem that were a result of the removal of the gray wolf from the area. Conservation and Reintroduction of Gray wolf Yellowstone National Park has many unique ecological features that make it a prime habitat for many species. Rivers and lakes cover about five percent of the park, creating water sources for many species. Forest comprises 80 percent of the land area, which is often habitat for megafauna, and the rest of the land is mostly grassland (Russell et al. 2004). The park sits on the Yellowstone Plateau, which has an average elevation of about 8,000 feet above sea level. Due to these different features, Yellowstone National Park is home to a diverse ecosystem. The park is also widely considered to be the best megafauna habitat in the lower 48 states (Ripple and Beschta, 2012). This habitat is home to nearly 60 species of mammals including bison, bears, elk, deer, pronghorn, mountain lions, and wolves. These mammals and many others, along with the parks flora, create the ecosystem that is enjoyed every year by visitors from all over the world.

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