25 Years of Yellowstone’s Wolves
Written by Andrew-Rossi on January 13, 2020
After a quarter of a century, Yellowstone celebrates one of the most significant and controversial decisions in its history.
2020 is the 25-year anniversary of the reintroduction of wolves to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The decision came after Yellowstone’s wolves had been hunted to regional extinction almost a century prior. The first truck carrying wolves passed through the North Entrance 25 years ago yesterday, January 12th 1995. In March of the same year, the wolves were released and integrated into the wilds of Yellowstone for the first time in almost 70 years.
Whether one is on the pro or con side of the issue, it’s undeniable that wolves have changed the landscape of Yellowstone. The reason for their reintroduction was to control and change the behavior of elk herds, as their numbers and overgrazing were suppressing other animals and native plants from establishing themselves. While these efforts were successful from a biological perspective, anyone in the area knows it’s been far from harmonious as wolves will prey upon domestic sheep and cattle.
The merits of this decision will be debated for years to come, but it has now officially been 25 years since Wyomingites and wolves have contentiously shared the same lands.