Reintroducing Wolves to Yellowstone National Park

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Reintroducing Wolves to Yellowstone National Park The area of Yellowstone National Park has a long history of inhabitants, even before it became the nation’s first national park. In the area now known as Yellowstone National Park, wolves were once very prominent. However due to westward expansion in the 1800s, agriculture began to increase. This led to the wolves that once thrived in this area to being practically completely removed. The increase in agriculture in this region led to a lot of the wolves’ prey becoming reduced or eliminated. Since the wolves had a decrease in prey, the wolves began to prey on domestic animals, which then resulted in humans eliminating the wolves almost completely. By the 1930s the wolf was eliminated from the area. This was before people had an understanding of how ecosystems work and the interrelation of species. Now that the wolves were gone, elk then became overpopulated. A lot of the vegetation began to disappear as well due to the overgrazing of the elk. However after about a 70-year absence, in 1995 the wolves were carefully brought back to Yellowstone. When they brought the wolves back to the park, there was not just an effect on one species or one area but rather they affected the entire ecosystem of the area. I will discuss their effects on areas such elk, beaver colonies, scavengers, aspen trees, willow trees and cottonwood trees. Once the wolves were brought back into Yellowstone, immediately the elk population began decreasing.

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