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Location: Summit County, Colorado
Joined: 03/17/2005
Posts: 18
Wolves important to the ecosystem?

I don't know, what do you all think about this?

I know the enviros love talking about the importance of predators in the ecosystem, and I admit that the idea of wolves returning to Colorado has some appeal to me. But I wonder if a populated State like Colorado could actually live in proximity to wolves.

Study shows wolves' importance to ecosystems
Monday, August 1, 2005; Posted: 3:21 p.m. EDT (19:21 GMT)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The loss of once-plentiful wolves in a part of Canada's west allowed the elk population to mushroom, pushing out beavers and songbirds and showing the importance of top predators, Canadian researchers said on Monday.
Although scientists have long noted that the loss of even one species can have profound effects, the report is one of the first large-scale studies to show clearly the widespread consequences of losing a predator at the top of the food chain.
Mark Hebblewhite of the University of Alberta, and colleagues studied what happened in "a serendipitous natural experiment" when wolves returned to part of the Bow Valley of Banff National Park in Alberta.
Wolves were driven out in the 1960s "because that's what we did then," Hebblewhite said.
"The first wolf pack recolonized the Bow Valley of Banff National Park in 1986. High human activity partially excluded wolves from one area of the Bow Valley, whereas wolves made full use of an adjacent area," the researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Ecology.
Willow trees, river-loving birds called willow warblers and American redstarts, and beaver dams once were common in Bow Valley and surrounding areas. But in the areas where wolves remained scarce and elk populations mushroomed, these plants and animals were less common.
The wolves clearly had a major effect on elk. Elk populations were 10 times as high in areas where there were no wolves, Hebblewhite's team found.
This meant that elk could be found in suburban backyards, and sometimes on hiking trails.
"Seven people are sent to hospitals every year on average by getting into a fight with an elk," he said. "They are 250 kilograms (550 pounds) on average so you don't want to get into a fight with one. But being a park they couldn't just go willy-nilly shooting elk and as a society we have advanced beyond wildlife management by just shooting things."
The elk browsed on tender young willows, leaving little for beavers and willow-dwelling birds. Aspen trees seemed less affected.
"We also found that as elk populations climbed, active beaver lodges declined, probably because beavers could no longer find sufficient trees with which to build their dams," Hebblewhite said in a statement.
But in the parts of the park where wolves returned, the elk populations in affected areas fell and willows were coming back.
While other predators such as grizzlies might have played a role, Hebblewhite's team noted, bears were never completely driven from the park while wolves were.
"Yes, wolves are ecologically important. It (the study) bolsters the importance of conserving species like wolves and other top carnivores," Hebblewhite said.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Wolves important to the ecosystem?

Ah, yes, the topic of wolves, again. Idaho had a few native wolves before the intro / planting in the 90s. The planted wolves have mushroomed in numbers and the elk have been decimated, starting in the central wilderness areas and working outward. The elk appear to have been chased to the fringes of civilization - and the wolves are right behind them. I don't eat beaver or willows - so I think it's a tragedy. We had a few wolves and a nice balance before the intro.

Things were in balance when the predator had a predator.

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Location: NONYA,thats in MONTANA
Joined: 07/22/2005
Posts: 242
Wolves important to the ecosystem?

sure wolves are great,we will have to get rid of the hunters thow,the wolves will keep all the game animal numbers low enough we wont need hunting anymore.

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Location: Summit County, Colorado
Joined: 03/17/2005
Posts: 18
apex predator

This science on wolves is still new, and I for one plan to get involved as wolves become more of an issue in Colorado. It seems biologists are concluding more and more often that previous wildlife management policies were outright mistakes. That's ok, science evolves like that, but we'll have to engage fully in the process as hunters in order to protect our privileges. Humans have always been the apex predator, and I believe they always should be.

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Joined: 04/27/2006
Posts: 2
Wolves important to the ecosystem?

My personal opinon, kill them all. I don't know if you know how many elk a single wolf will kill in a year but the numbers are up there. I have heard that a single wolf will kill 100 elk in a year. They aren't as big of a problem in the Sawtooths of Idaho as they are in other places but you can tell the elk numbers are lower than in years past. Shame on You!

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Wolves important to the ecosystem?

One hundred per year per wolf I think is high. Perhaps 100 per pack per year. Until they run out of elk - which is what has happened in parts of Idaho. When `they' reintroduced the wolf a decade ago, they toasted to the end of hunting. I don't necessarily like wolves - nor do I necessarily dislike them. It's mis- or mal-management I don't like. Decisions by `elite' people thousands of miles away who don't feel the pain on the ground. Hunting has indeed ended for some in the area.

A wolf that can be hunted is in its most natural environment.

tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 602
Wolves important to the ecosystem?

It is a touchy thing. A well balanced ecosyetem has predators. no predators and eventually no game. has idaho gone to far, tough question. I do hope we will be able to hunt wolves in the futre though.

I don't know whether the shoot, shovel and shut up approach is right or not, but they are in my area and i will be curious to see what happens. The wolves have expanded north of i-90 and that will be interesting to see what happens to the wolves north of i-90 compared to the wolves south of i-90. Why the feds choose an interstate as a boundry is beyond me.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Wolves important to the ecosystem?

I'm not a wolf lover or wolf hater. But I am angry about the way the reintro has happened. Wolves are good for the ecosystem in my mind but not when they are not controlled. Wolves are a problem in some areas and management needs to start happening immediately.

If the gov't would allow states to manage I believe hatred for the wolf would dwindle and normalcy would eventually set in. But if the gov't doesn't allow states to manage soon hatred will grow and the wolf will "mysteriously" disappear from the American landscape once again.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
Wolves important to the ecosystem?

Wolves important to the ecosystem?

Sure are if people aren't keep the deer, elk, and rodents in check.

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Location: Lewiston ID
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 61
Wolves important to the ecosystem?

I started hunting cougars with a couple of hound hunters this year. We were on the north fork of the clearwater all winter long. We would go in and come out two days later and wait one day and go back in. One pack of 6 wolves were killing 1 adult elk about every other day. They would kill one elk and eat on it and then move 10-15 miles and kill another and head back toward the first one. We took pics of steaming elk and the only tracks around it were wolf, took pics of them too. I took pics of 6 different kills we went to about 15 kills total, this was one pack and this all took place in about three and half weeks time. I took pics of about 30 elk eating twigs on a rocky island in the middle of the clearwater and there was green grass all along the shore line. I think the wolves were a very bad thing to re introduce. Also in all the time we were out there we only saw two wolves. If anyone wants I will post the some of the pics.
Just a final FYI this area is were IDFG asked to thin the wolves, I wrote about one pack we know there is four different packs where we were hunting.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 02/28/2006
Posts: 162
Wolves important to the ecosystem?

In my opinion, many different scientific studies are as accurate as a bent arrow, not all mind you, but on many controversial topics, one group will have their facts and other scientists will have theirs and we all buy it because we are the gullible masses who hear the title scientist and cower in fear and awe. He will have a hard time convincing me that too many elk in Canada is a problem, maybe they should let man replace the wolf as the predator. This sounds like crappy game managment to me, not a scientific breakthrough by Dr. Frankenstien. I guess society has evolved past hunting as an effective means of game managment. Maybe the all wise Dr. can negotiate with the elk to migrate to Idaho to replace the dwindling elk herds wiped out by the all perfect (non native) predator. I'm so sick of socialist, yuppy, bledding heart doctors, lawyers and poloticians sticking their fat noses where they have no buisness. Get the hell out of Idaho and take your stinking, ugly (and I mean that) wolves with you!!!
Hank

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