[Tweeters] wolves, willows, wapiti, etc.

Hal Michael ucd880 at comcast.net
Wed Feb 22 19:21:38 PST 2017


Something to understand, and emphasize, in situations like the wolf restoration in Yellowstone is that it is a dynamic ecosystem. Something wins, something loses. Also, the complexity of the ecosystem makes evaluation difficult. For example, much has been made about the wolf/elk( N American taxonomy) interactions. Elk numbers are down. Wolves get blamed. But, somebody put Lake Trout into Yellowstone Lake and this almost extirpated the lake's Cutthroat. Loss of the cutthroat spawners eliminated a food source of Grizzlies. So, they switched to elk calves and were very good at finding them. There is lots off this going on. And, as everything in nature, nothing is directly linear. The wolves had at least one serous bout of (I believe) distemper that really reduced numbers. So this releases some of the pressures, for a while. It will take decades to settle into some level of "stability" and this does not even include climate change.

Long way of saying that the wolves have probably made some really big changes in the 'Stone ecosystem but that what is going on there is significantly more complex.


Hal Michael
Science Outreach Director, Sustainable Fisheries Foundation
Olympia WA
360-459-4005
360-791-7702 (C)
ucd880 at comcast.net

----- Original Message -----

Thanks to both Devorah and Dennis for additional comments, articles and editorials, and at least one cartoon. I am fascinated by the variety of responses to the NY Times article in Devorah's second link. I suggest reading some of them if you are interested in this topic. Many of the respondents seem to have actual field experience and are speaking from the POV of scientists, while others bring out the ever-so-vital aspect of the importance of humans making connections with nature, even as visitors to a national park. Yet others point out the problems of over-generalizing, or -simplifying, writing "fantasy", making conclusions in accordance with what one wants to believe. The many factors make it difficult for some of us to decide what is fact and what is not. In the end, for me, I always seem to decide that there are so many pieces to the puzzles that nature presents to us, that I will accept what seems to me to be reasonable, even knowing that there is not only one absolute answer or solution. I look forward to hearing, experiencing and reading more about wolf reintroduction and things we are figuring out about how ecosystems work. Unending learning. And a certain kinship with the natural world - warms my life, especially in the current days that are filled with rejection of science, hostility and other unreasonableness.

Barb Deihl
Matthews Beach Neighborhood - NE Seattle
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