No wolves, no water.

So I’m cheating here by only giving a smidge of the article and not bothering to interpret it, so I’ll give you the link here, and leave you with this mind-blowing snippet.

As it turns out, wolves are critical for water. And, as any ecologist with half a brain will tell you, removing a predator is not as simple as “no more predator.” There are effects all the way down the line – no wolves means no beavers means no macroinvertebrates, etc. Doesn’t make sense? Then please, for the love of all things holy in this world, read the rest of this article and educate yourself.

No Wolves, No Water

Here’s the piece we still don’t get: when we exterminated wolves from Yellowstone in the early 1900s, killing every last one, we de-watered the land. That’s right — no wolves eventually meant fewer streams, creeks, marshes, and springs across western landscapes like Yellowstone where wolves had once thrived.

The chain of effects went roughly like this: no wolves meant that many more elk crowded onto inviting river and stream banks where the grass is green and the livin’ easy. A growing population of fat elk, in no danger of being turned into prey, gnawed down willow and aspen seedlings before they could mature. Willows are both food and building material for beavers. As the willows declined, so did beaver populations. When beavers build dams and ponds, they create wetland habitats for countless bugs, amphibians, fish, birds, and plants, as well as slowing the flow of water and distributing it over broad areas. The consequences of their decline rippled across the land.

Original article:

The Big Bad Wolf Makes Good: The Yellowstone Success Story and Those Who Want to Kill It, Tuesday 28 September 2010

As you awesome readers probably already know, the plight of our native predators really breaks my heart. This kind of story is exactly what we need to be hearing – the author makes a great point that in this time of woe, hearing a success story is a relief. Even though predators still have a long, long uphill battle, here is evidence that the ecosystem – and, eventually, US, for those egocentrics that care about nothing so much as human society – cannot survive without its apex predators.

Do your part. If you care about nature and you have a blog, write an article. Quote articles like this. Facebook it, Twitter it, whatever. Start conversations. Get involved. Figure things out. Protect our predators.


Posted on September 29, 2010, in Biology/Ecology, Connected Living, Fauna and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. So glad you posted this! I read this article yesterday, and it is fantastic! Wolves are really feeling the heat in the Greater Yellowstone Area since a federal judge ruled that they must be put back on the Endangered Species List. The powerful livestock and hunting industries are trying hard to circumvent the ruling, and western politicians are introducing legislation to put wolf management in the hands of the states. This is a BAD idea, not only because wolves are integral to ecosystem balance and health, but because all endangered / threatened species would be jeopardized should state politics be allowed to decide their fates instead of sound science. Indeed, the Endangered Species would in essence be nullified and void if this legislation should ever become law. If you care about wolves and all North American wildlife, contact your Reps and Senators and urge them to vote against these bills now. Again, thanks for posting this very important article.

  2. Hey you should really check out Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat. It’s an amazing book.

    Take care!

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