Ecology and Biodiversity.
Ecology and Biodiversity
Wolves are very social species which live in parks, with each park having a colony of about nine individuals. Wolves feed on a variety of prey due to their ability to kill even what other predators cannot attempt to kill. In early 1900, wolves started to become extinct in Yellowstone National Park and it was noted that other animals fed on all plants leaving the land almost bare (National Park Service, 2016). This created a necessity to come up with a policy that would help in monitoring the ecosystem.
Since the grey wolves started to be introduced into the park in 1995, their impact on the ecosystem has been so clear through a policy known as a trophic cascade. This policy of introducing wolves to balance the ecosystem was fronted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Jenks, 2014). Contrary to the usual food chain whereby plants are considered as the basic unit, this policy focuses on starting with a top level animal and then its effect spreads across other levels of the chain. When wolves enter into the ecosystem, they hunt other preys and also compete with other predators thereby reducing their numbers. This in return creates a balance in the ecosystem by allowing other low organisms to thrive.
For example, elk are a crucial prey for the wolves. As the wolves hunt this prey, their legs aerate the ground thereby allowing grass to sprout. After feeding on the prey, other animals such as ravens, coyotes, and bears feed on its remnants (Jenks, 2014). This shows that its activities are beneficial to all species since they reduce certain populations while allowing others to survive. Research shows that return of grey wolves into Yellowstone has caused elk and deer to become stronger, willows are healthier while grass continues to become tall (Jenks, 2014).
Since it is clear that a complete ecosystem is necessary for all species to continue thriving; Information about trophic cascade is useful in efforts to rehabilitate the wilderness by avoiding extinction. However, diseases such as canine distemper are a major blow towards the success of this policy (National Parks Service, 2016). But the challenge can be solving through developing a vaccine which prevents wolves from being infected with such viral diseases.
Jenks, H. (2014). Wolf Reintroduction: Good for Yellowstone Ecosystem. Retrieved from http://wolfweb.com/?page_id=45.
National Park Service. (2016). Wolf Information Continued. Retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/wolfinfo.htm
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