Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Yellowstone Wolves, Grizzlies And Moose 'Dysfunctional' Study Says

Date:
April 16, 2003
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
A recent study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) appearing in the journal Biological Conservation warns that a proposal to remove grizzly bears and wolves living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) from the Endangered Species List is premature, because neither species may be fully recovered.

NEW YORK (April 15, 2003) -- A recent study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) appearing in the journal Biological Conservation warns that a proposal to remove grizzly bears and wolves living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) from the Endangered Species List is premature, because neither species may be fully recovered.

Federal officials are now moving to delist the largest carnivores of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, citing rising population levels of grizzly bears and wolves as evidence of conservation success. However, the authors of the study say that a simple increase in numbers of wolves and bears does not necessarily mean full ecological recovery. The authors looked at how these formerly absent predators are interacting with moose populations, and found that predator/prey relationships in (GYE) may show signs of dysfunction.

"The current justification that Yellowstone grizzly bears and wolves should now be removed from their protected status because we have enough of both species now is incomplete," said WCS researcher Joel Berger, one of the co-authors of the recent study. "Recovery should be defined by a suite of ecological processes rather than a simple headcount."

For the past 75 years, ungulates such as moose, elk and bison living in the Greater Yellowstone region have lived in an ecosystem free of wolves--which were recently re-introduced in 1995--and grizzly bears--which have recolonized former habitat such as the Jackson Hole area.

Berger and co-author Sanjay Pyare used female moose as an indicator of ecological functionality. They exposed moose to predator sounds and smells, but observed little reaction. Moose in an area of the Kenai Peninsula where moose were fenced in to protect them from predators showed the same disregard for wolf and bear signs.

By contrast, moose living in mainland Alaska, an environment where predators have existed without interruption, displayed agitated responses and often fled the area when predator smells and sounds were present. Berger says that such a reaction indicates the type of response consistent with animals living in an environment containing large predators.

According to Berger, the scents of predators are one of several indicators that help biologists understand when carnivores are more fully integrated into the system. Other markers of recovery include restored vegetation communities, birds that rely on these, and the behavior of other prey species.

"Grizzly bears and wolves in Wyoming are currently protected under the Endangered Species Act, which specifies that recovery includes both the species and the ecological functions it once performed," said Berger. "If these species are delisted, as may be the case in the near future, it will lead the public to the possibly wrong conclusion that grizzly bears and wolves in Wyoming have recovered." Berger and Pyare recommend that the classification of endangered species should include a more complex definition of ecological recovery to ensure that large carnivores become truly restored components of functioning ecosystems.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Yellowstone Wolves, Grizzlies And Moose 'Dysfunctional' Study Says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030416085844.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2003, April 16). Yellowstone Wolves, Grizzlies And Moose 'Dysfunctional' Study Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030416085844.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Yellowstone Wolves, Grizzlies And Moose 'Dysfunctional' Study Says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030416085844.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins