Thursday, November 5, 2009
Are the Wolves Worth the Effort?
This is our first class, about 17 students, a great variety. It is being led by Doug and Christine Smith. Doug is in charge of the wolf program for Yellowstone and has been studying wolves for 30 years. He is the one who first brought the wolves to the Park in 1995. His PhD is in beavers and we will learn the relationship of that tomorrow. A few facts, not too much so you aren't bored. This year is the first hunt of wolves, ever. Remember they were considered a varmit and we shot on sight, or poisoned before they were protected. Of the Yellowstone wolves, four were shot in Montana, two with collars. Why do they collar? Because they can get data, genetic, blood (DNA) and disease. This time of year is the hardest for them because the prey, elk and bison are hearty from a good summer. When wolves are stressed they attack one another, as just happened. the Alpha female from the Druid pack was killed by another pack just two weeks ago. They are a pack animal, for the following reasons, social, travel and killing. They can travel 25-30 miles a night. More later, we now have a movie on wolves to view. Steve