Here we go again!

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Yellowstone Up Close and Personal Chat Page Version 1.60 ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 10:29:30 10/02/14

In Reply to: Wolf Video posted by Dave

I have not expended the time and energy to thoroughly research exactly who produced this video, but I did see the Greater Yellowstone Coalition named in the credits. I did not recognize any of the individuals named in the credits. (That does not mean anything, beyond the fact that I simply don't recognize the names.)

My initial concern is simply that every time I hear a British voice narrating a video about Yellowstone, I cringe. Great Britain gave us the incredible hysteria a few years back about how a new caldera formation was imminent. They also gave us "Thunderbeast", the film about bison, which was riddled with overblown drama. I hate to say it, but it seems Fleet Street heavily influences Yellowstone videos produced and/or narrated by Brits.

I also recognize that for some inexplicable reason, America seems to have some sort of folk belief that narrators with Australian or British accents have more credibility. How else do you explain the abundance of such narration in TV commercials? Madison Avenue doesn't tend to throw money at targets without supported logic behind it. They employ market research firms, harvest focus group output, and copy each other's successful work continuously.

There was a time when some people bought the trophic cascade theory hook, line, and sinker. It was "sexy", and if you were a wolf lover, it sure supported the object of your romance. The simple fact is that since Doug Smith and a few others advanced this theory regarding Yellowstone's wolves, it has not stood the test of objective analysis and scientific research. I actually stand somewhere in the middle on the issue of the trophic cascade re: Yellowstone's wolves. I buy some of it, but know, even without need for bona fide research, that some of it is hokum. EXAMPLE: The narrator tells us that even the bears started increasing their numbers. Duh!! The simple fact is that black bear numbers, which are not researched thoroughly in and around Yellowstone, have remained relatively stable over time, while the grizzly population has continued its slow rebound since the low ebb of the late 1970s/early 1980s. Then there is "the rest of the story", regarding elk calf predation by bears. The narrator talks about how the bears "help" the wolves hold down elk numbers. (Remember, elk are referred to as "deer" in Europe.) Bears were pigging out on elk calves long before the wolves returned. Recent research has produced a few surprises in this area, particularly the strength of the impact calf predation by bears has on overall elk numbers. This video is somewhat dated. These days, the elk numbers are considerably lower on Yellowstone's Northern Range. As one would expect, wolf numbers are considerably lower than they were 10-15 years ago, when we saw bloated pack sizes. Of course, the bears, being omnivores, seem to be lumbering along, not taking the kind of population hit experienced by wolves. If someone wants to really get into the complexity of the situation on the Northern Range, review the literature regarding coyotes, study what happened when the wolves returned, and take a comprehensive look at how coyotes are doing now. The fact is that coyotes have expanded their range to 2.5 times the size it was when Europeans arrived in the western U.S. This at the same time bison were all but annihilated, wolves were extirpated from Yellowstone, and grizzly-occupied habitat shrank to a small single digit percent of what it had once been.

I could go on and on, but I'll close by stating that I believe it is a serious overreach to credit wolves with changing the course of rivers.


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:
Please enter the following value as your Submit Key:     
Submit Key:
Note: The Submit Key is Case Sensitive. Do not Copy and Paste!

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Yellowstone Up Close and Personal Chat Page Version 1.60 ] [ FAQ ]