How wolves change rivers

Ecologically essential

Wolves Ecologically EssentialHow does a healthy wolf population benefit a region? The first thing we might think of is that they manage their own population very well as well as that of predators further down the food chain – like coyotes. Or that they are good rodent control. Maybe our first thought is that they cull from ungulate herds the old, the weak, and the sick. It’s much more involved than all of that.


With all the scientific progress in the last 20 years, we are still only beginning to scratch the surface of the complexity involved in a healthy ecosystem. Without a wolf presence, ungulate herds over populate and then over graze, damaging new tree growth. No wolves? – no new tree growth. No new tree growth? – no beavers. No beavers – no dams. No dams? – a less viable, less diverse ecology.


Many appreciate the family oriented wolf with its beautifully managed pack structure. Perhaps it’s the lonesome, wild howl of the wolf that speaks to others. What we must focus on is the ecologically essential nature of apex predators. Whether you appreciate them on a personal level…or not…they are essential.



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