Most commonly known as the gray wolf, Canis Lupus first appeared in North America 750,000 years ago. Throughout historical lore of Native American tribes there are stories of wolves with favorable encounters, but in more recent history wolves were looked on as a threat to ranchers and exterminated. By the early 1900s the gray wolf was almost extinct. In 1973 it was listed as an endangered species. In 1995, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service re-introduced 14 wolves into Yellowstone National Park, and then 17 more were added in 1996 (the wolfs are monitored by radio collars). In the park, minimal human contact was made and the wolves were fed deer, elk and bison that had died in the area. At first it was thought that the introduction of wolves would take five years, but after the first two years, the program was so successful that no further animals were introduced. As the wolf population grew, the park’s ecosystem began to improve. Elk is the preferred prey of wolves, and this has led to the culling of the Elk herds and kept the population at a healthy level. Grizzly bears often interfere with the wolves’ feast, allowing the bears to eat better, as well. It also creates better foliage with less elk foraging around and more beavers and beaver dams have appeared. The wolf packs have had good years and bad years, but, overall, they have thrived. By 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported in the Northern Rocky Mountain District (Idaho, Montana and Wyoming) there was a population of 1,650 wolves, in 244 packs, with 110 breeding pairs. Eventually, the wolves were taken off the endangered species list, but they are still fully protected in Yellowstone. The wolf is revered in the Native American Folklore – to them, the wolves are wise, and man has many lessons to learn from them.
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.