Wolves Have the Power to Bend Streams and Help Trees Grow


What a tangled web the ecosystem weaves.

Everything has a place.

The dragonfly, the mosquito, the whale, and even the wolf.

In fact, when it comes to wolves, we didn’t know how much we missed them, until they returned:

Photo Credit: did you know?

Sources: 1, 2, 3

After being essentially eradicated by 1926, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995. At that time, the park had only one beaver colony.

By 2011, there were 9.

They were able to thrive again because more trees started growing.

Willow trees were growing along the river banks, again, because the wolves were keeping the elk, who used to graze on willow, aspen, and cottonwood, on the move much more often.

More trees means less erosion.

Less erosion can change the way a stream or river flows.

And it’s all because the grey wolf was back to prey on the elk.

In fact, elk are one of the few species that saw their numbers decrease. That has also meant a boost for other wildlife, such as ravens, eagles, magpies, coyotes, and bears. All these species now have more food (dead elk) to scavenge year-round.

And then there’s all the plant life the elk aren’t eating, which creates crucial edge-growth.

If you’d like to find out more, check out the video from Sustainable Man below:

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