A wolf bites incessantly at an antelope’s butt, hoping to take it down eventually. 😢
“I was telling guests that I always wanted to see a kill because I am fascinated by the ecological relationship between wolves and elks. As I looked to the left, I saw a black wolf chasing down an elk.”
“There were more pack members nearby, but they weren’t comfortable being so close to the road. They choose to not give chase. It was incredible that only two wolves took down the elk! 1 black wolf and 1 grey wolf.”
Wolves and large predators play an important role in the Yellowstone ecosystem. Up until 1995, there were no wolves or large predators present in the park. As a result, elk and other herbivores became so abundant that they started to destroy their own habitat. Without the pressure from predators, elk spent more time near streams over browsing a variety of plants. This caused erosion and a magnitude of other issues, such as a loss of tree density, and a cascade effect was witnessed. Water temperatures increased which caused a decline in fish, amphibian, and reptile species.
With the reintroduction of wolves and other large predators, the number of elk has decreased which has allowed the riparian ecosystem to recover. Erosion is now under control and the water temperature has lowered. On top of that fish, reptiles, frogs, and a variety of birds can now be spotted in this beautiful ecosystem.
“The rangers dragged the elk kill further away from the road so the rest of the pack could feed without being disturbed by the traffic on the road.”