In 1995, fourteen wolves were released in Yellowstone National Park. No one expected the miracle that the wolves would bring. Keep scrolling to read the video transcript.
Curbing the Surplus Deer Population
It started with the wolves hunting deer. This led to a rapidly decreasing deer population.
The wolves’ presence also made the deer avoid parts of the park where they were easy prey. Thanks to the deer’s absence, those parts of the park started to regenerate. Forests of aspen and willow trees started to flourish.
That’s when things really started to happen.
- With the trees and bushes came more berries and bugs.
- As soon as that happened, various bird species started moving in.
Welcome Home, Beaver
With the increasing tree population, another species was attracted: beavers. The beaver, previously extinct in the region, moved back in. The dams they built provided habitats for otters, muskrats, and reptiles.
When those wolves were released in Yellowstone National Park, they also began to kill off coyotes. As a result of that, the number of rabbits and mice grew. This meant more hawks, red foxes, badgers, and weasels in the park. Even the population of balk eagles and ravens rose.
Changing the Course of Rivers
But here’s where it really gets interesting. The wolves changed the behavior of the rivers. With more balanced between predatory and prey, came the possibility for other species to thrive.
- There was less erosion because of the increased vegetation.
- The river banks stabilized.
- The channels narrowed.
- More pools formed.
- The rivers stayed more fixed in their course.
So the wolves did not only transform the great ecosystem of Yellowstone, but they also changed the park’s physical geography. By curbing the surplus deer population, the vegetation grew, causing an influx of native species, culminating in the strengthening of rivers and natural water supplies.
This cycle will continue to help the ecosystem to thrive for years to come. When those 14 wolves were released in Yellowstone National Park no one quite knew the extent of rehabilitation that would occur.
Nature is truly incredible.