Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Read Up on Wolf Re-Introduction

This book is written by a biologist intimately involved in the wolf re-introduction program in Yellowstone, and provides a very interesting discussion of the Yellowstone ecosystem before and after the return of the wolves. The chapters alternate between providing statistics and discussion on a variety of subjects, including wolf behavior, wolf kill rates, pack formation, etc. and portraits of individual wolves involved in the project.

While the author clearly loves and respects wolves, he is also realistic and scientific in his approach rather than appealing to emotion. To my surprise, he also appears to conclude that at this juncture delisting is to occur and that some hunting will be necessary. He gives credit to the Defenders of Wildlife for taking a realistic approach to livestock loss issues during the reintroduction effort, which I was pleased to see as I donate to them and support their efforts on behalf of wolves. (Incidentally, they are asking constituents of Rep. Mike Simpson to call his office at 208-334-1953 as he hasn’t yet signed on to cosponsor H.R. 3663, the Protect America’s Wildlife Act. This bill would prevent the needless deaths of hundreds of wolves in Alaska by clarifying the longstanding federal law against aerial hunting of wolves.)

I thought the book was an easy and interesting read, particularly the portions which discuss the ripple down effect of having wolves present; how trees, beavers, birds, bears, etc. are affected. I think there can be little doubt that returning wolves to the ecosystem is good for the environment and the system. Too bad man wiped them out to vigorously and violently.

You can order or read more about the book on Amazon.com, specifically here.

I am going to Yellowstone in December to try and catch a glimpse of some wolves, and whatever other wildlife the Park might have to offer in the dead of winter. The trip is with the National Wildlife Federation and will be my first trip with them. I am looking forward to seeing some of the places discussed in this book.

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