After carnivores got wiped out by the Federal Government in 1900, administrators of the park had to regulate high rising numbers of elk by killing them off.
Yellowstone National Park was home to many predatory animals such as grizzly/black bears, mountain lions, and of course, wolves. But that was before the start of the 20th century. This park lost all its habitual carnivores when Government campaigns successfully removed all of them.
Due to this imbalanced nature, the park started spilling out of elks, leaving them to starve. They began coming out into human civilization in search of food. Between the early 1930s to late 1960s, elks were killed in order to keep a sustainable population but, as soon as it stopped, the numbers went haywire.
View this post on Instagram
Caution: Elk calving season has begun. Beware of your surroundings! Cow elk are much more aggressive towards people during the calving season and may charge or kick. Stay alert and look around corners before exiting buildings or walking around blind spots. Cow elk may bed their calves near buildings and cars. Keep at least 25 yards from elk at all times. If an elk charges you, find shelter in your vehicle or behind a tall, sturdy barrier as quickly as possible. You are responsible for your own safety.
So to balance the accounts off, the park officers re-inhabited 41 wolves in the parkland in 1995-97. Needed steps were followed to develop the numbers of meat-eaters in their neighborhood.
Park’s chief biologist spoke on this.
For the last two decades, a study was carried out to monitor the progress of the ecosystem. Researchers studied the hunting methods along with the nature of the prey. Their results showed that wolves have largely affected in balancing the ecosystem with their methods of hunting variations in different seasons.
This diversified killing has affected in controlling other populations as well as giving them a chance to reproduce. The reason is that when seasons change, wolves change their prey types along with it.
According to the Journal of Animal Ecology, wolves mainly hunt elks in rainy and snowing seasons and move onto killing bulls in the dry season. The biggest elk group of the park has now stabilized at 6000-8000, and wolves have grown into a staggering 300-350. (National Geographic.)
View this post on Instagram
Spring is elk calving season. In May and June elk cows give birth to brown calves dappled with camouflaging white spots. Elk calves walk within an hour of birth and spend most of their first ten days bedded down between nursing sessions. While the adorable elk calves enchant us all and we want to enjoy watching them, it is extremely important to maintain a safe distance as elk mothers become irritable and highly protective of their calves. Cow elk become much more aggressive towards people and may charge or kick. Stay alert and exercise caution during elk calving season.
They are now letting residents decide whether wolves need to be introduced to Colorado where elks exceed 250,000 in number.