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The Removal And Re Introduction Of An Apex Predator (Canis Lupus) In The Yellowstone Region

722 words - 3 pages

The Gray Wolf (Canis Lupus) is an apex predator, which free ranged the deciduous, coniferous, and boreal forest of North America and Canada, since the 1700’s (National Park Service 2013). Unfortunately, European settlers began occupying much of the land that gray wolves habited (Weiss et al. 2007). By the latter half of the 1800’s, a full scale war was waged against the gray wolf (Perry 2012). This was attributed to European settlers over hunting bison, which at the time was one of the wolves primary food sources (Perry 2012). According to Perry (2012), the wolves began relying on game species and rancher’s livestock to sustain their diet. This led to extensive predator control by ranchers, ...view middle of the document...

According to Ripple and Beschta (2011), the removal of wolves from Yellowstone resulted in excessive overgrazing by large amounts of ungulate or hoofed species, such as: elk, moose, mule deer, bison, and antelope. It also led to a decline in various types of vegetation and animals, from the resulting shift in the trophic cascade process. It changed from top down consumer driven, to bottom up producer driven (Eisenberg et al. 2013). Trophic cascade is essentially a change in the food chain, which results in positive or negative impact on the various trophic levels (Krebs 2009). In a study conducted by Eisenberg et al. (2013), proposed that bottom up affects usually succeed in the event that an apex species is removed from a system. It results in an event called the trophic trickle. Furthermore, the removal of lower trophic levels results in the complete failure of a system (Eisenberg et al. 2013)
According to Millspaugh et al. (2010), the re-introduction of the gray wolf into YNP, has contributed to greater biodiversity within the region. The resulting presence of the gray wolf has shifted the trophic cascade back to a top...

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