Celebrating Wolves in the National Parks

Wolves in the National ParksAt first glance, this seems like only a pretty picture about some wolves in a National Park. But some simple research shows that this topic is by no means a pretty or easy topic.

According to Wikipedia, in the United States, the oldest National Park is Yellowstone. It was created in 1872 but by 1926, the gray wolf had been eradicated within the park. Local ranchers wanted them gone because the wolves would attack local cattle herds. Hunters obliged by getting rid one of the major apex predator in the area. But while local ranchers were relieved that their livestock were safe, others started to notice over time that another problem was occurring – the Elk population was growing because its main challenger was gone. This led to serious disruption in the surrounding ecosystem.

Starting in the 1940s, conservationists and others started campaigning for reintroduction of the gray wolf in the park. It did not happen overnight. In 1973, the Endangered Species Act started the legal ball rolling to allow them to be eventually reintroduced in 1995. As of 2016, there are around 100 wolves in the park, but they are of a different species and size than the original. Some claim that the introduction of a species a bit larger than the extinct original means that the ecosystem still will not be at the optimal best. Safety of cattle is no longer guaranteed. With wolves being taken off of the endangered species list, who knows what will happen with the ecosystem in and around Yellowstone National Park?

There are no easy answers, but as you and your loved ones assemble this jigsaw puzzle entitled “National Park Wolves”, it would be a great time to learn more about and discuss solutions. You can find this puzzle and otherĀ Wolf/Coyote Puzzles at A+ Puzzles, Etc.

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