30 Mar 2010, 4:46pm
Latest Wildlife News Too Ludicrous For Words
by admin

300 Wolves in Yellowstone

A predator’s welcome

By DANIEL PERSON, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, March 28, 2010 [here]

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — In the wide swath of grassland and marsh that is the Lamar Valley, groups of bison, elk and pronghorn antelope bed down under an unseasonably warm March sun as an occasional coyote darts across the rolling prairie.

But on a rocky knoll beside the highway that gives park visitors a good vantage point on the landscape, sleek scopes and telephoto lenses are trained not on the lounging herds but on a steep draw on the far side of the Lamar River.

There, a pack of gray wolves has been visible, on and off, since about 9 a.m. Even as the wolves, like their prey, lay low for the afternoon, the scopes and eager visitors stay focused on the far hillside in hopes of catching a glimpse of the animal that had recently been the stuff of bedtime stories.

Fifteen years ago this month what has been called the most controversial feat of conservation in United States’ history took place in this valley.

On March 21, 1995, the gates of three acclimation pens holding 15 Alberta-born wolves were opened, reintroducing the gray wolf to a prized ecosystem that had not seen the keystone predator for 70 years.

For at least half a century prior, scientists had hypothesized on what was lost when the wolves disappeared. Did it allow for too many elk? How about deer? If so, at what cost? The loss of a native grass? Or was it more profound? Was it the loss of “wildness,” wherein, Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “is the preservation of the world”?

Fifteen years after reintroduction, with more than 300 wolves now in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the region still grapples with the question: What do wolves mean for this slice of America famous for both the wilderness tamed by Marlboro cowboys and the wilderness yet untouched by man? …

“The historical expectation people had — the system is no longer able to produce that,” said Carolyn Sime, wolf program coordinator for FWP. “We are no longer offering the Gardiner late hunt because the elk aren’t there.” … [more]

Note: Marlboro cowboys? Wilderness yet untouched by man? Global warming after the coldest winter in 30 years? The degree of flowery ignorance and mythology expressed here is off the charts. Danny must have gone to public schools. Also, he sees things, like elk herds, that aren’t there. Probably the drugs.



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