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Nature offers a window on global natural history, providing a unique insight into the natural world, the environment, and the magnificent creatures that inhabit it.
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 31 October
Howard Stablford
Howard Stableford
Monday 31 October 2005
A Grey Wolf

Nature - Yellowstone Wolves

Howard Stableford visits Yellowstone National Park in the United States to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the return of the wolf.

Having been persecuted to extinction in the early 20th century, wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone in 1995. It took many years to make it happen and even today there are many people unhappy that wolves are back in the area.

The project has been very successful and wolf numbers peaked in 2004 at 170 wolves. Numbers are down slightly this year, with many pups not surviving. It's thought this is possibly down to a disease that also effects domestic dogs called parvo virus.

While the wolves bring pleasure to the many thousands of tourists who come to the park each year to watch them, the local farmers and hunters are concerned about the wolves.  With the territories of the wolf packs expanding, wolves stray beyond the boundaries of the park onto cattle pasture.

Farmers are compensated financially for wolves having killed their cattle but it has to be proved that a wolf was to blame.

The wolves mainly eat elk and thousands of elk are found in the park and outside of it. The elk are also the prey of local hunters and "outfitter" businesses, as companies offering elk hunting are called.

They feel the elk herds are being effected by the wolves and the licences they get to shoot a certain number of wolves are being reduced which they say is impacting on their income.
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