03 March 2014

A Wolf Runs Through It

Do you see the paw prints of wolves when you look at a river?

Given that wolves occupy only 15 percent of their historical range, you probably don't see many actual wolf tracks. However, even if you are lucky enough to glimpse some, I'm talking about something a little different: the influence wolves have on river systems.

Research on wolves in Yellowstone National Park shows just how big of an impact they have on ecosystems, and the following video makes the connection between these animals and the rivers in their range. Check it out:

One part of the video that stands out for me comes when the narrator talks about wolves giving life. It challenges our traditional understanding of predators, and we see that predation involves more than killing. The video also provides a great description of the links between all members of an ecosystem and challenges us to consider this broader picture.

To paraphrase writer Norman Maclean, eventually, all things merge into one, and it's a wolf.

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