Gray Wolf Deforestation

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In the mid-20th Century wolves within the United States border were nearly extinct due to human action against them. The gray wolf has recently been re-introduced into the lower 48 states. This has sparked much controversy over whether this species should be encouraged to thrive or eradicated from their habitats. While wolves may endanger a few livestock they are a keystone species and are crucial to maintaining a stabilized ecosystem in not only Yellowstone but the entire mid-west.
Wolves are a danger to livestock in the areas where they live. In 2010 a population of 566 wolves killed 84 heads of cattle and 64 sheep. This is a stark contrast from the 369 livestock killed by wolves the year before (Gray Wolves: By the Numbers). Many ranchers,
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The Yellowstone area had been devoid of the gray wolf for over seventy years (1920s-1995) which allowed for the ecosystem to become destabilized (Reintroduction of the Wolves). During this time period elk populations rose substantially which allowed for overgrazing of aspen and willow trees. This led to a decline in aspen trees, an increase in erosion and the degradation of the quality of soil in the areas affected by overgrazing. With the declining amount of aspen trees beaver populations, who relied on the aspen tree to create and maintain their colonies, began to decline. As a result of the loss of beaver’s fish and waterfowl habitats became poor in quality which had even more adverse effects on the …show more content…
When Yellowstone was first established in 1872 wolves were seen as a threat to the safety of the wildlife and the livestock that lived in and around the Yellowstone area due to their natural predation. As a result of this viewpoint wolves were hunted and harvested for their pelts to gain a reward from the U.S. Government (Wolf Restoration). The ideology that wolves were a parasitic organism led to its near extinction in Continental United States. As a result of this the Endangered Species Act was signed on December 28, 1973 to which it “provides for the conservation of species that are endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of their range, and the conservation of the ecosystems on which they depend” (Endangered Species Act). By 1978 every wolf sub-species was on the endangered species list (United States). It is widely recognized that in order to prevent the next mass extinction these animals must be protected under the court of law and must also be encouraged to thrive in their natural

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