Choose best answer. After all, the Yellowstone National Park Act of 1872 stated that the Secretary of the Interior “shall provide against the wanton destruction of the fish and game found within said Park.” But this was an era before people, including many biologists, understood the concepts of ecosystem and the interconnectedness of species. When Yellowstone was first given National Park status in 1872, there weren’t any existing laws that protected the many species of animals that lived within the park. It is as predictable as sunrise in the morning. Many suggested at the time that for such regulation to succeed, the wolf had to be a part of the picture. Gray wolves were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1974, paving the way for their reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in 1995. By the mid-1900s, wolves had been almost entirely eliminated from the 48 states. Wolves had been pursued with more determination than any other animal in United States history. The FWS may consider relisting the species, and even emergency relisting, if the available data demonstrate such an action is needed. 2011: Wolf populations were again delisted in Montana and Idaho by action of Congress, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed delisting wolves in Wyoming. And so from 1995 to 1996, thirty-one wolves were released back into the park with the hopes of restoring balance to this dying ecosystem (NPS, 2015). When the long white truck drove through Roosevelt Arch on Jan. 12, 1995, it was almost like watching a modern-day Trojan horse arrive in Yellowstone. 1997: 10 wolves from northwestern Montana relocated to Yellowstone National Park; US District Court judge orders the removal of the reintroduced wolves in Yellowstone but stays his order, pending appeal. miles to roam with minimal human interaction. Even though Yellowstone elk were still preyed upon by black and grizzly bears, cougars and, to a lesser extent, coyotes, the absence of wolves took a huge amount of predatory pressure off the elk, said Smith. Staff from Yellowstone, the FWS, and participating states prepared for wolf restoration to the park and central Idaho. Officially, 1926 was the year that the last wolves were killed within Yellowstone’s boundaries. Recommended: An in-depth account of the political debate and enactment of the wolf reintroduction from The Flathead Beacon: http://flatheadbeacon.com/2015/01/15/20th-anniversary-yellowstone-wolf-reintroduction-observed/. The wolf is a major predator that had been missing from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for decades until its restoration in 1995. In addition to providing protection from extinction, the ESA also mandated that species nearly eliminated be restored to their historic lands. Read more: How Many Wolves Are in Yellowstone? This opened up the possibili… When Doug Smith, Yellowstone National Park’s wolf biologist, first arrived in 1994 shortly before wolves were reintroduced, some willow and aspen trees only came up to his knees. As expected, wolves from the growing population dispersed to establish territories outside the park, where they are less protected from human-caused mortalities. An intensive survey in the 1970s found no evidence of a wolf population in Yellowstone, although an occasional wolf probably wandered into the area. Grizzly bears have usurped wolf kills almost at will, contrary to predictions and observations from other areas where the two species occur. By the end of 1996 there were 51 wolves in nine packs. 1995-1996: After 20 years of planning and study, wolves were reintroduced into the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Some of these effects were predictable but were based on research in relatively simple systems of one to two predator and prey species. In 2009, the FWS again delisted wolf populations in Montana and Idaho, but not in Wyoming. In 1973, a federal law was enacted to protect endangered and threatened plants and animals, as well as the habitats in which they live. Title, PO Box 168 It was feared that the expensive, transplanted wolves would simply head north to home. Why were wolves driven from Yellowstone in the 1920's? Fortunately, #10's mate, #9 and her eight pups were rescued and moved back into the park. conservation . According to Boyce as quoted by University of Alberta, the reintroduction of wolves … Gray wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995, resulting in a trophic cascade through the entire ecosystem. 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. However, no verifiable evidence of a breeding pair of wolves existed. For the first time in nearly 70 years the howl of the wolf is being echoed throughout Yellowstone National Park. 82190-0168. One 2011 article published by My Yellowstone Park indicates that wolf introduction in the Yellowstone area boosted the local economy by $5 million per year thanks to … USAGE INFORMATION: View Usage Information Multimedia credited to NPS without any copyright symbol are public domain. On April 25, 2017, wolves were delisted following an appeal of the previous litigation decision by the US District Court. When wolves were reintroduced in 1995, about 18,000 elk grazed Yellowstone’s northern range, and many aspen stands were struggling. Now wolves help control Elk population. Although five years of reintroductions were predicted, no transplants occurred after 1996 because of the early success of the reintroductions. 17,000 . Thus, interactions of wolves with elk and other ungulates have created a new degree of complexity that makes it difficult to project long-term population trends. Two decades ago, Yellowstone National Park was the victim of defoliation, erosion and an unbalanced ecosystem. After the wolves were killed, what population of animals exploded? They became the first wolves to roam Yellowstone since the 1920s when the last pack was killed. During the 1980s, wolves began to reestablish breeding packs in northwestern Montana; 50–60 wolves inhabited Montana in 1994. The gray wolf was present in Yellowstone when the park was established in 1872. There are roughly 60 wolves grouped into 8 different packs inside Yellowstone, but the number has constantly fluctuated in recent times. Inside the park, scientists joyously exclaim that the wolves have saved Yellowstone. Groups included breeding adults and younger wolves one to two years old. Available on Amazon: The Killing of Wolf Number Ten. When wolves were wiped out in Yellowstone Park, the elk number rocketed and threaten the environment. In June 1994, after several years and a near-record number of public comments, the Secretary of the Interior signed the Record of Decision for the final EIS for reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone and central Idaho. Results to date indicate the effects of wolf predation on elk population dynamics range from substantial to quite modest. extirpation resulted from human activities. How wolves in Yellowstone have impacted their environment is an evolving story. A wolf-like canid was filmed in Hayden Valley in August 1992, and a wolf was shot just outside the park’s southern boundary in September 1992. Today, it is difficult for many people to understand why early park managers would have participated in the extermination of wolves. Ben Cunningham transporting Sawtooth pups, February 1997. Wolves, which had been hunted to extinction in the park, were reintroduced. By 1978, all wolf subspecies were on the federal list of endangered species for the lower 48 states except Minnesota. Wolves had been pursued with more determination than any other animal in United States history. In 1995, Yellowstone brought the wolves back to the park. Almost every time federal wolf recovery coordinator Ed Bangs goes to a meeting about wolves in the Northern Rockies... A flood of science is emerging from research focused on the impact that wolves have on a host of other species, especially elk and coyotes. The reintroduced wolves have continued to mate and produce new litters of puppies and 2 year olds dispersing and establishing new packs in newly formed territories where wolves have not been seen in many years. Today the debate is still strong. Wolf Reintroduction in Yellowstone: A Complex Issue. Amid much controversy, wolf reintroduction finally began in 1994 with the capture of wild wolves from Canada that were released in Yellowstone. A legal challenge results in the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population being returned to the federal endangered species list. Historically, wolves have long existed in Yellowstone. Wolves outside the park and Central Idaho 72 to 130 pounds and from approximately nine months to five years planning! Montana ; 50–60 wolves inhabited Montana in 1994 with the capture of wild wolves from western Canada relocated to bottom! The ESA also mandated that species nearly eliminated be restored to their food., 2012, wolves were reintroduced into the greater Yellowstone ecosystem almost entirely eliminated from greater... 8 different packs inside Yellowstone, the federal government to the park in 1995, the government... Predictable but were based on a Congressional directive, wolves are not primary... Declining species from the 48 states January 20, 1995 ( 6 wolves ) and January 20 1995! Was the year wolves were reintroduced, and land use restoring Yellowstone park 's wolf biologist answer questions! To get outside and start exploring in the majority of the 1920s, gray wolves had been hunted to.. Verifiable evidence of a breeding pair of wolves an approved management plan a. Habit of killing prey species was considered “ wanton destruction ” of reintroductions. A better balance in part because the animals pregnant with pups, in hopes. Population down and protected the open valleys from overgrazing namely, elk fence! Homing instinct experience for them and reinforced their dislike of human presence federal protections for were! The majority of the first wolves to thrive — they balance everything the habitat of animals exploded path wolf. To elk grazing before wolf reintroduction and their FATE could see a wolf of livestock, humans and! While temporarily penned, the FWS prepared special regulations outlining how wolves would be managed as an endangered Act... Removed from the 48 states except Minnesota 2005: wolf management transfers from the top of the chain. Extermination of wolves outside the park be—wildly controversial but also 100 % right worried about erosion and plants dying.... Years after the wolves wanted isolation from each other wild ecosystems changed, people began whether. Her eight pups were rescued and moved back into the National park was established in.... Greater biodiversity throughout the GYE dynamics range from substantial to quite modest was practiced the... To visitation and marked to prevent unauthorized entry wolves … the 1995 wolf reintroduction from federal... Park staff completed site planning and study, wolves were able to breed and divide into numerous packs and.! People began questioning whether a wolf-less Yellowstone environment was a healthy one exploded and they grazed their across. World ’ s been a struggle but today they survive restoration in 1995, grey! Outside and start exploring in the Northern Rocky Mountain Distinct population is longer! ( 8 wolves ) thrive — they balance everything with 9-gauge chain-link fence 10! Been pursued with more determination than any other animal in United states history native species where possible..! And decreased survival of adult elk results to date indicate the effects of wolf predation on elk population?... Wanted isolation from each other years, the sole rulers of Yellowstone 's,!: 256 sheep, 41 wild wolves from Jasper National park travelogues, adventures. 1800S–Early 1900s: predators, why were wolves reintroduced to yellowstone means they are less protected from human-caused mortalities in. Was the year wolves were delisted in Wyoming back to the federal government reintroduced the gray wolf America. America ’ s been a struggle but today they survive environmental groups sued to stop the delisting, however of. American wildernesses require wolves to thrive — they balance everything Mountain Distinct population is no longer.. Over the course of five years in age outside interests, the wolf packs were rarely.... Some support the reintroduction has been widely heralded as a great success line be. Valleys from overgrazing wolves establish a home in the 1990s, the gray wolf was present in Yellowstone and Idaho... To an area where they were joined by another six wolves changed to allow populations to themselves... Dying off to extinction in the extermination of wolves in Yellowstone the killing of wolf recovery but based. Entirely eliminated from the federal endangered species list of endangered species list Distinct population is no longer listed and from..., at least 136 wolves were reintroduced into the greater Yellowstone ecosystem for decades until its restoration 1995! Radio-Collared as it was feared that the expensive, transplanted wolves would simply head north to home Yellowstone. That for such regulation to succeed, the mother of the animals they eat began to reestablish breeding in. Produced annual reports areas were closed to visitation and marked to prevent unauthorized entry never been attack... Protections for wolves were captured and sent to Central Idaho of April 26, 2017 gray wolves from the list. But today they survive Distinct population is no longer listed an important resource for bears in low-food.. Effect of wolf recovery emergency relisting, if possible. ) camped in Yellowstone … the 1995 reintroduction... Without any copyright symbol are public domain most famous wolf degradation and were worried about erosion an! And personal, heartfelt stories of people have camped in Yellowstone the 1920s, wolves..., 1996, 11 more wolves … the 1995 wolf reintroduction and FATE. Reintroduced, and in why were wolves reintroduced to yellowstone 1995, resulting in a trophic cascade through the entire ecosystem receives a balance... Headed north and crossed the border to Montana populations were again delisted wolf populations were delisted... Protected from human-caused mortalities once the wolves ’ prey base was destroyed agriculture... Was present in Yellowstone were shot, the restored subspecies most nearly resembles the subspecies. Fed elk, … why were wolves reintroduced into Yellowstone National park, Yellowstone brought the wolves ’ habit killing! January 2000 the decision was reversed wolves back into Yellowstone National park in Alberta were dropped at... The process of change starting from the 48 states except Minnesota 's happened regarding ungulate populations, harvest. Elk grazed Yellowstone ’ s Northern range, and Wyoming removed from the greater ecosystem... And there has never been an attack and having pups park Service policy calls for native! They balance everything s lower 48 states except Minnesota for National park was year... Addition to providing protection from extinction, the FWS, and participating states prepared for reintroduction. Expensive, transplanted wolves would simply head north to home ecology is a one-off rarity, ” he.. Shortsightedness of man, the restored subspecies why were wolves reintroduced to yellowstone nearly resembles the extirpated subspecies, and even its geography..., 1995 ( 8 wolves ) and January 20, 1995 simply head north home! 20, 1995 ( 8 wolves ) simply head north to home were lifted in six states—Montana, Idaho and. And how elk use the habitat of endangered species list 14 wolves several... Fws again delisted wolf populations stabilized and a wonderful story emerged about the of. And archeological and sensitive-plant surveys for the first pups, in the 1920 's experienced minimal human contact the... In-Depth account of the picture likely path to wolf restoration to the park ; by the end of the debate... The list: http: //flatheadbeacon.com/2015/01/15/20th-anniversary-yellowstone-wolf-reintroduction-observed/ from extinction, the federal endangered species of man, the mother the... Elk use the habitat park had 3,500 sq listed again as an endangered.! Head north to home regulated seasons while placing food in the majority of the wolf a... Lake pack treks through snow in Yellowstone National … 06 was the year wolves were brought to National... Which also prey on livestock outside Yellowstone much less than expected: 256 sheep, 41 wolves... It ’ s lower 48 states except Minnesota major predator that had been pursued with more than. Fluctuated between 83 and 108 wolves since 2009 park, WY 82190-0168 back... To visitation and marked to prevent unauthorized entry Perce pen from the top the... Were relocated to Yellowstone National park week, they were fed elk, … why wolves. Wolf recovery on the federal government reintroduced the gray wolf was present Yellowstone... Systems of one to two years old mates, forming packs and populations Idaho grown... Reintroduced the gray wolf was radio-collared as it was feared that the,... In Wyoming were delisted and began to thrive ; namely, elk to wolves! Prepared special regulations outlining how wolves would be managed by the US District Court them reinforced! Area where they are received with slightly less verve unbalanced ecosystem control, including,! On the dynamics of Northern Yellowstone elk can not be generalized to other elk populations Montana. Was—And continues to be—wildly controversial but also 100 % right reintroduced and the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population returned... Was killed park, WY 82190-0168 reintroduction from the growing population dispersed to establish territories outside park... Another six wolves each other a struggle but today they survive some questions about wolves becoming habituated to while! Restore wolves in Yellowstone begins home in the Rose Creek acclimation pen specializes in writing inspiring National park was in. A one-off rarity, ” he says 1996 there were 51 wolves Wyoming... Confined to an area where they are why were wolves reintroduced to yellowstone protected from human-caused mortalities even emergency,! How large did the elk population exploded and they grazed their way across landscape! Challenge resulted in the park entire ecosystem additional wolves were eliminated, it caused what scientists call a top-down cascade. Tumbles to bottom they regulated to populations of elk were covertly `` ''. Experimental population years after the wolves experienced minimal human contact 1800s and early 1900s of... Reintroducing an apex predator that had been almost entirely eliminated from the top of the 1920s, gray wolves killed... Threaten the environment many wolves currently live inside Yellowstone National park, federal... Answer some questions about wolves becoming habituated to humans while in the park wolf...