The National Park That Cried Wolf

“We have doomed the Wolf not for what it is, but for what we have deliberately and mistakenly perceived it to be…the mythologized epitome of a savage, ruthless killer…which is, in reality no more than a reflexed images of ourself.”

 -Farley Mowat

Like all issues of importance in environmental studies, the reintroduction of wolves into the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States is best explained by a British man narrating over sensationalized time-lapse photography. The video embedded below has popped up on my news feed several times in the last few weeks sparking engaging and intellectually stimulating comments like “OMG wolves I want one as a pet” and “#SpiritAnimal.” The gray wolf, and specifically the reintroduction project discussed in this video, is a topic I have researched and presented on since my last year of high school. The video below is a fantastic, concise representation of the tireless effort put in by proponents of wolf reintroduction and the widespread ecologic phenomenon that have occurred in the two decades after the first reintroduction event. This video was broadcasted through a new social media and video collaboration platform called Sustainable Man that provides free content for all to enjoy.

The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area is the first keystone predator reintroduction of its kind and serves as the battleground for research and debate on the merits and consequences of top-down food web interactions. This reintroduction program serves as a template for how the damages humans have inflicted on our natural world have the capability of being reversed. The program and results form the initial research also serve as a reminder that nothing in nature stands alone. Each part of nature leans, often precariously, on every other part, and the equilibrium can be thrown off course much more easily than we previously imagined. The godfather of preservation, John Muir, said, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” Hopefully we can use wolves as a cautionary tale of the consequences of removing any part of nature.

-Sam Faries | Tree Nursery Coordinator

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