The Extinction Of Yellowstone National Park Essay

2064 Words Dec 18th, 2016 9 Pages
In Yellowstone National Park, there are more than 11 native fish species in the waterways, with the Yellowstone cutthroat trout historically being the most abundant fish in the park (NPS, n.d.). The cutthroat has been the dominate fish species in this area for hundreds of years, being fished by both the Native Americans who lived in this area and the wildlife. This fish is an integral part of Yellowstone’s ecosystem because they are relied upon as a keystone food source for birds, bears, river otters, wolves and other mammals inhabiting Yellowstone. Because cutthroat trout spawn in shallow rivers upstream like salmon, they are easy to catch and consume by mammals and birds. This food source is crucial to ensure the continuation of other species. Bears, wolves and large prey birds are less likely to hunt for smaller prey or juvenile animals if there is an abundance of cutthroat trout available. With the introduction of non-native fish, specifically lake trout which prey on native fish, cutthroat trout have been decimated for over a hundred years to the point of almost extension (Duncan & Zale, 2009). This has caused an imbalance to the ecosystem, causing other species to begin hunting other animals as an alternate food source. With the declining population in cutthroat trout, young elk, moose, and deer deaths have been on the rise in the park due to bear and wolf attacks (Schullery & Varley, 1995). This cycle has shown to decimate the younger animals, which in turn, is…

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