When any species is removed from its original ecosystem, the changes felt by that natural habitat may be unnoticeable at first. But as that one single change causes a domino effect, ripples of change are scattered across vast channels of that ecosystem causing drastic alterations in the natural balance that once existed.
A perfect example of this is the disappearance of the wolf population from Yellowstone National Park. Starting in the 1800s spanning well into the 1900s, wolves were routinely poisoned as a method of “predator control” in Yellowstone. Since their virtual disappearance from the park, there have been a series of geographic and ecological changes that were never truly understood until the wolf population was returned.
Since 1995, when wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone, the impact of their return has been felt in every facet of the park’s ecosystem. Rebalancing the natural predatory hierarchy, the park’s biodiversity has actually increased, whole landscapes have rejuvenated, and the course of the river has even been changed for the better! It’s almost unbelievable.
Let’s step outside Yellowstone for a second and think about how we have inadvertently altered thousands of other ecosystems by targeting apex predators. While we may perceived these animals as a threat to our own well-being, a future without them spells indefinite doom for us.
It is time we started to respect the natural workings of nature and set aside our invented fear of natural predators. We should all look to the reintroduction of wolves at Yellowstone and remember that in some way or another, everything is connected and the less we alter, the better!
Image Credit: Willem v Strein / Wikipedia Commons