Here’s a fascinating and moving video created by Henry Roberts from a series of game cam photos taken by North Forker Ray Brown. Thanks to Walter Roberts (no relation to Henry, I’d guess) for getting up on Facebook and giving this work the publicity it deserves. The sound track is from music by Josh Woodward. Highly recommended . . .
In February of 2014, Ray Brown of Polebridge, Montana came home to discover that wolves had killed an elk just off his driveway.
He set up a game camera near the carcass to see who might come back for it.
Three weeks went by.
The following photos are what he found — the inhabitants of the forest that helped return the carcass to the ecosystem.
This is pretty interesting stuff. A new report suggests that the increased wolf population in Yellowstone National Park, and the consequent reduction in over-grazing by elk, is making a lot more berries available to bears in late summer/early fall . . .
A new study suggests that the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park is beginning to bring back a key part of the diet of grizzly bears that has been missing for much of the past century — berries that help bears put on fat before going into hibernation.
It’s one of the first reports to identify the interactions between these large, important predators, based on complex ecological processes. It was published today by scientists from Oregon State University and Washington State University in the Journal of Animal Ecology.
The researchers found that the level of berries consumed by Yellowstone grizzlies is significantly higher now that shrubs are starting to recover following the re-introduction of wolves, which have reduced over-browsing by elk herds. The berry bushes also produce flowers of value to pollinators like butterflies, insects and hummingbirds; food for other small and large mammals; and special benefits to birds.
From an AP article posted to several regional papers (includes link to letter from Gov. Schweitzer to Dept. of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar). . .
Defying federal authority over gray wolves in his state, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Wednesday encouraged livestock owners to kill wolves that attack their animals – even in areas where that is not currently allowed – and said the state will start killing off packs that hurt elk herds.
Schweitzer said he no longer is willing to wait for federal officials to resolve the tangle of lawsuits over wolves, which has kept the animals on the endangered species list for a decade since recovery goals were first met.
Now, here’s an interesting idea: Introducing wolves into national parks to control elk and deer herds and prevent overgrazing. Dunno if this would ever be feasible in the real world — managing a pack of neutered, collared wolves seems a bit (ahem) over-engineered compared to more straightforward alternatives — but the underlying science is plausible. If nothing else, it’s a nice break from coverage of The Great Wolf Hunt Squabble.
Here’s the lead-in . . .
With ballooning elk and deer populations eating up greenery and altering ecosystems at national parks across the country, a group of researchers is suggesting an unusual solution: introduce small packs of gray wolves to curb the expanding herds.
Today’s Missoulian has an article on the increased number of poachers this year who seem to be killing game just to get a little ego boost . . .
The poacher who pulled the trigger on Maximus — one of Montana’s greatest grizzlies — left the big bear to waste.
So did the poacher who shot two wolves up near Glacier National Park. And the poacher who killed the big bull elk north of Columbia Falls. And the poacher who dropped the trophy bull moose down along the Jefferson.