• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

"how wolves change rivers" / re rotational grazing

 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1607
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
81
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is a link for a video of the effects of re-introducing wolves.

Allan Savory's model is based on soil health related to predators moving grazers and browsers around the landscape.

This is what happened when wolves returned to yellowstone, and what do you know. It is just as Allan's model would predict.

Worth a look.

http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/how-wolves-change-rivers/

Thekla
 
Johnny Niamert
Posts: 268
Location: Colo
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My buddy sent this video to me and I immediately thought of permaculture.

Cool video; with a good explanation of how every living thing changes the environment somehow.
 
Brett Andrzejewski
gardener
Posts: 318
Location: Buffalo, NY
29
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good video.

Wolves need to come back to the east coast of the US too. I've heard that deer now on the east coast are too numerous and have no predator to keep the population in check. My friend lived in North Carolina for a big and was telling me his rural friends are always complaining of too many deer.
 
Joseph Fields
Posts: 171
Location: Berea, Kentucky
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is awesome!!
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1607
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
81
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Johnny, That's exactly what I thought when I saw it, that's why I posted it. I thought you just could not get a better real life example, or a bigger scale demonstration. And presumably they had other reasons for doing it than soil development, but that is just conjecture.

Glad you're all enjoying it.

T
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3793
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
146
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pretty interesting but I always love how people filming in Wyoming cannot resist showing the Teton mountain range , which is not in Yellowstone.

Also just to be clear the animals that the wolves most effected were elk, not deer.

The landscape has changed not only because the predators are moving the elk, but because they have decimated the herds. (Less elk = more grass, but less elk = hungry wolves)

Now with less prey the wolves have moved out of the park.

They are now close to Denver. They are eating what the mountain lions usually eat and so the lions are now in the city. Eating pets and chasing joggers.

So don't worry , soon they will be back east to help out with all of those deer!
 
Bev Huth
Posts: 36
Location: AR, USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wolves are amazing creatures, I have a wolfdog (high content) so he's more wolf than dog. Shy, cautious, wary of stranger, and beautiful to watch when the wolf comes out and he acts nothing like a domestic animal at all, then promptly comes over for pets LOL.

I'd love to see them back in the wild more but, humans have taken over too much for there to be many wolves w/o them causing even more problems that coyotes do for ranchers and since I have livestock, I'm content to keep the wolfdog as the closest thing to a wolf I'll ever see here and, a great addition to the family.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1607
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
81
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Miles I did not know there were wolves in the Denver region. Denver is the 'Queen of the Prairie'. I have heard of mountain lions in the Boulder area, but not Denver. I Just read a Denver Post article from November of 2013 saying "if wolves migrate into Colorado...." which sounds to me like they are not here yet, and makes me wonder, why do you say they are already in the Denver region?

Can you help me out here? Is the USFWS cooking their numbers for some undisclosed reason?

Thanks

Thekla
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3793
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
146
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thekla, these large predators travel thousands of miles. There are only about 30 % of the yellowstone wolves with collars that can be tracked. The other 70 percent can be anywhere but you won't here any official admit to that.

here are a couple of news stories about a couple of wolves in Colorado.
I saw the one that was killed on I-70 with my own eyes.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/another-yellowstone-wolf-confirmed-in-colorado

Quote..According to satellite data, the wolf passed south through Yellowstone National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming southeast of Pinedale.
She then traversed widely through southwestern Wyoming and wandered through southeast Idaho and northeastern Utah before crossing into Colorado within the past two weeks.
The wolf is now 450 miles from its origin, but has traveled at least 1,000 miles overall

http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20090418/NEWS/904189989

Yes they are "cooking the numbers"

Another quote... A female from Montana headed south through Wyoming, crossed southeastern Idaho, dropped down to Utah, crossed northern Colorado, and headed back up to Wyoming, where she ate poison and died.
"If you connect all the dots, she walked something like 3,000 miles," said Bangs. "Wolves are amazing travelers.'"

 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1607
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
81
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, Miles.



The first article I could read, the other one seemed to have controlled access. I could read the first paragraph, then -- I guess you had to be a subscriber. All I could see was that the article continued.

Wolves could come after my goats any time they want I guess. I have lost so many cats to the great horned owl whose territory I inhabit, or possibly the mountain lion who is my neighbor, that I really hope I don't start feeding wolves any time soon.

Wolves carry such an emotional punch for humans, I guess it is hard to get unccoked numbers, and un biased conclusions.

Anyway, it's good to have accurate information about wolves, and be warned about some agenda of wildlife officials (some want to remove them from the endangered list).

What is likely is just as you say, they are already here, in Western Colorado as well as the front range and the high country, and most of them are smart enough to stay out of human sight.

Thekla



 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3793
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
146
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you look around the web you will see that wolves have migrated all over the west.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020433831_wolfpopulationxml.html
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1607
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
81
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, Miles, I am in favor of wolf populations at levels robust enough to ensure their survival, though I realize it's not without problems. The clip I posted was far from perfect-- the Tetons in Yellowstone, as you mentioned, and calling the elk deer to name a couple. I posted it because I think it illustrates exactly what Savory's model would predict. When you keep the large herbivores moving, several things will follow. Increased diversity of flora and small herbivores, development of the soil, water holding capacity of the soil. And to me, that's exciting stuff.

T
 
Kelly Ware
Posts: 62
Location: Flathead Valley Montana
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You will notice that movie doesn't mention the elk. In the last 6 years 27k elk in Yellowstone went to 3900. The wolves are breeding ...like rabbits. The feds brought in Canadian wolves evolved from moose hunting, and now the Rocky wolves are 30% larger than the natives that were here. One wolf now can take down a female elk. The problem with Yellowstone was that the high numbers of elk and deer could have been hunted if guns were allowed. Now the Native people are allowed to hunt buffalo when they leave the park. With hard times coming people will rely on all those deer. Wolves are so hard to find and control. What is scary is that there used to be a cow/calf ratio of 1 to 2 or 3 now it is 1-6 or 7. The wolves follow herds like walking lunch boxes forcing elk to go higher into the timber, and less nutrition makes for higher miscarriage rate, and attacks during birth are wiping out the next generations to replace the already stressed numbers. Wolves on the Flathead reservation in Montana are exploding in numbers. Hunting is the preferred way to manage deer and elk, now introducing wolves. Read Wolves of Russia to get a healthy respect of what happens when wolf numbers get out of hand. In these times we need to cultivate healthy ungulate numbers, not protect and introduce a predator that threatens entire herds in wild bioregions, force deer and elk into human areas (road hazzards) not to mention future food supply.
 
David Livingston
master steward
Posts: 3000
Location: Anjou ,France
140
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think one needs to look at the whole ecosystem not just at the wolf /elk dynamic .
Firstly what are the ecosystem boundries? I dont think nature recognises yellowstone national park
Secondly look at the effect also of this change on Beaver and bear numbers too never mind fish ducks etc .( all have increased and cyote numbers have fallen too ) dont forget bears eat young deer/elk too
Thirdly if hunting deer by man is the solution why wasnt it working before?

David
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3793
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
146
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thekla McDaniels wrote: I posted it because I think it illustrates exactly what Savory's model would predict. When you keep the large herbivores moving, several things will follow. Increased diversity of flora and small herbivores, development of the soil, water holding capacity of the soil. And to me, that's exciting stuff.

T


I agree Thekla, Savory's work and the theory behind it is very exciting stuff!
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3793
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
146
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
David Livingston wrote:
Thirdly if hunting deer by man is the solution why wasnt it working before?

David


The government, in all of it's wisdom, limits the number of animals that can be taken, in a limited number of days or weeks. In areas like back east, where the deer are overrunning the ecosystem, you may not be allowed to hunt in the towns. Deer and elk are smart. They know when and where they are safe and when to run.
The wolf, and other predators hunt at will, year round.
I could have the same effect on rivers if I were allowed.
 
Johnny Niamert
Posts: 268
Location: Colo
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Also, I do believe hunting is not allowed in most National Parks, including Yellowstone.
 
Zach Weiss
pollinator
Posts: 294
Location: Montana
55
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I for one love to see the wolf dispersing, such a wise and intelligent animal, it's great to see nature healing herself. It's easy for humans to rush to conclusions, especially with such an emotionally charged issue as wolves, but it is also important to step back and observe what is best for the ecosystem as a whole. As someone who has studied with a couple of the researchers who have been working on the wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone I would love to share some of what they have observed.

First off roughly 80% of wolf depredations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) are compensatory, less than 20% are additive. This means that roughly 80% of the elk that wolves kill would have died anyway, less than 20% would have otherwise survived. This is due to a wide variety of factors, be it harsh winter conditions, lack of forage (due to overpopulation), broken limbs, etc. Wolves don't kill healthy elk, they are cursorial predators that depend on the weak portions of the population for their survival. The biggest effect that the wolves had on the elk was modifying their behavior, not their numbers. It is also important to note that before the wolf reintroduction elk were universally considered to be overpopulated in the GYE, which includes more area outside of the park than in it. Their degradation of the ecosystem was clearly visible, as they were well outside of their natural balance. Even though the USFS was doing everything they could think of to increase the number of hunters in the ecosystem it was not enough.

There is a high degree of communication that happens between predator and prey. This is part of an evolutionary arms race where the prey always has an advantage. In each interaction the predator only has dinner to loose, where as the prey has it's life at stake. Healthy herding animals exhibit a wide variety of postures and behaviors to show that they are healthy (stotting for example). This communicates to the predator that it is not worth their energy, as the animal is healthy. When the predator sees a weakness in the animal this is when they chose to pursue their advantage.

I believe that the reason the video calls the elk deer is because the narration is from a TED talk given by a Brit. In the UK elk have been hunted to extinction by humans. This is something that wolves cannot do, as has been demonstrated thoroughly over a long term study of Isle Royal (most notably by L. David Mech). Even in a small nearly isolated ecosystem on an island in the middle of lake superior wolves have never been able to hunt the moose to extinction. When the moose numbers fall low enough the wolf numbers self regulate, such beauty and wisdom is the way nature works.

Hunting wolves is an extremely ineffective strategy for their population control, as wolves breed to their food supply. This has been demonstrated with the aerial gunning of wolves in Alaska. Because the wolves are breeding to the available food supply even when a large portion of the population is killed they compensate for this in their breeding behavior. Usually a pack only has one breeding pair, but when the food supply is bountiful and the wolf numbers have been anthropomorphically lowered (via aerial gunning and poisoning) then the pack will have two or even three breeding pairs. These are behaviors that have naturally adapted over thousands of years, so the wolves are best able to support their ecosystem.

The wolves that were re-introduced are indeed larger than the last subspecies known in the United States (before humans killed the last of them) but are actually still smaller than some of the subspecies that used to roam the US. There were something like 7 or 8 (I can't remember exactly) different subspecies of wolves in North America, some of which were MUCH larger than the Canadian wolves, as they had evolved to primarily hunt Buffalo. The wolves that were introduced are the closest living genetic relative to the wolves that were once widespread throughout the US.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
286
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wolves don't kill healthy elk, they are cursorial predators that depend on the weak portions of the population for their survival.

I think that this is true of most predators. The lioness does not catch the quickest gazelle, but rather the slowest, least agile. In India, when a tiger kills one of the tea pickers, it is usually the oldest, slowest pickers (and it is usually a sick tiger that preys on humans - the healthy ones go after less risky 'game'). Mother Nature's version of culling. The strong survive, while the weak seldom make it to breeding age. "Natural selection" fine-tuned.

 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!