LISTEN TO THE AUDIO VERSION
By Rachel Cramer
Yellowstone National Park wildlife biologists will host Facebook Live events each Tuesday in March to commemorate the 25th anniversary of wolf reintroduction in the park.
In the first Facebook Live Mar. 3, Senior Wildlife Biologist Doug Smith will recap the events leading up to the transfer of eight gray wolves from Jasper National Park in Canada to Yellowstone in 1995.
Smith says wolves have been and remain a controversial species.
“But there’s isolated problems about everything. And really, it’s made the world’s first national park a better place, a more complete ecosystem. We have all the original mammals back in place,” Smith said.
Subsequent Tuesdays will highlight some of the scientific discoveries learned in the last 25 years, wolves’ effect on visitors’ experience and the global impact of their reintroduction.
“The high profile of Yellowstone, the high profile of wolves definitely has been seen across the globe. Wolves have increased all over Europe because of human tolerance, not because of growth in habitat. You know, they’re trying to bring back carnivores in other places in Asia and Africa,” Smith said.
On the last Tuesday of the month, Smith will talk about the future of wolves and discuss the relationship between the keystone species and people.
Wolves were routinely killed in Yellowstone in the late 1800s to early 1900s. The last wolf pack in the park was wiped out in 1926. Congress listed the gray wolf as endangered in 1974, paving the way for their reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho two decades later.
As of January, there were at least 94 wolves in the park. Wolf numbers have fluctuated between 83 and 108 wolves since 2009.
Yellowstone’s Facebook Live events will take place each Tuesday in March at 11 A.M. Mountain Standard Time.