Reintroducing wolves to the wild can restore local ecosystems, scientists say

Wolves were seen as a ferocious predator with a major impact on wildlife, reducing the population of myriad wildlife species and even livestock.

However, a new study has found that this is not the case and has proposed that wolves and cougars should be reintroduced into their traditional landscapes.

Reintroduction of wolves

(Photo: Photo by Steve via Pexels)

Cornell University issued a press release about its new study via its Cornell Chronicle webpage on July 5, in which the institution announced that its findings ran counter to conventional conservation paradigms.

This notion derives from the existing measures of hunting wolves or reducing their population in the United States and some other countries of the world in order to protect other animals.

With that, the Cornell University researchers pointed out that their finding relates to the maximum capacity of wolves; in which, although they are great predators, they will not completely wipe out the deer population, threaten people, or cause insurmountable livestock loss.

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Gray wolf: competition and prey

Wolves, in general, have a role to play in the ecosystems of different natural habitats.

In particular, more predator-prone tasks are what differentiate wolves from their distant canine cousins, who took a different path along the evolutionary line.

However, a species of wolf known as the gray wolf stands out from the rest of the canine predators.

Overhunting of wolves in the United States has nearly pushed the species to the brink of extinction in the lower 48 states, according to the nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife.

However, northern gray wolves have reportedly traveled to the northern Rocky Mountain, Great Lakes, and Pacific Northwest regions, as well as the state of California.

As the great wildlife comeback happens, the organization reportedly claimed that the US Congress in 2011 removed laws that protected wolves in the northern Rockies and that the Trump administration also removed related protections from the law. on endangered species (ESA) nationally.

In this context, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has recognized that gray wolves are important to the ecosystem because they are a species at the top of the natural food chain; where they control the population of other animals in the wild.

The role of gray wolves is made possible by their few competitors, which is similar in the case of bears and cougars, the WDFW added.

In terms of predation, the following animals are the main prey of top predators:

  • Elk
  • Bison
  • Stag
  • Momentum
  • Beavers
  • Rodents
  • Hare

US gray wolf population

Despite legal obstacles to reintroducing gray wolves, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has confirmed that their population is making a successful return to some of its former habitats thanks to “strong conservation efforts”.

Prior to widespread hunting, the population of so-called timber wolves or gray wolves covered over 66% of the continental United States.

In contemporary times, the NWF said there has been a confirmed population in Alaska, northern Michigan, northern Wisconsin, northern Idaho, western Montana, northeast of Oregon and the Yellowstone region of Wyoming.

The said population range provided by the US Wildlife Agency is in addition to those mentioned by wildlife advocates earlier in this article.

Related article: Wolf cull: Wolf hunting laws may have returned gray wolves to endangered species list

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