Depressing News Coming Out Of Yellowstone

Posted by on May 3, 2008 in Culture | One Comment

More than half of the bison have died or been killed in the past year and now they’re allowing the hunting of wolves, where close to 50 have been killed in a matter of days. It boggles the mind we’re allowing this to happen in our National parks. This depressing news made me think about a quote I had read a few years ago:

We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes—something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view. – Thinking Like a Mountain, 1944.

1 Comment

  1. John Isaacson
    05/03/2008

    Hi – I live near the Park, and was through there this week. It is true that the bison herd has been made smaller – largely because some bison wander out of the Park and carry diseases which make cattle abort their calves. Some of those are sent to slaughter and the hides and meat given to the Indian Tribes in Montana and Wyoming. The wolves have done a good job of culling the weak Bison and the weaker Elk in the park so that in general the herds seem to be doing much better than when there was a shortage of food for the overgrown herds. The battle over the wolves is real, and is driven by problems with wolves outside the Park which kill beef sheep, and other farm animals.

    The Park has just made a deal with a large ranch to the NW of the park which is on the bison feeder trails to improve their fencing and stop grazing cattle in the areas which the bison need to feed in the winter.

    The bottom line is that there are serious issues with all those herds, as you suggest – but they are largely problems of success rather than failure because all the herds are too large and have to be limited in one form or another so they can all survive.

    How the controls are installed is a tough question. Remember, though that the bison herd was down to a few dozen in the 30’s there were no wolves 25 years ago, and the elk herd was being decimated by hunting by the 50’s. All are prospering heavily now – so limiting them in some sensible way is the issue.

    John Isaacson

    Reply

Leave a Reply

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.