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Real-life Evidence for the Importance of Wolves // Nachprüfbare Beweise aus dem wirklichen Leben für die ökologische Bedeutung von Wölfen // Des preuves réelles de l'importance des loups pour l'écosystème et pour la biodiversité
The best real-life evidence that shows the importance of wolves for our ecosystem comes from the Yellowstone National Park. There, wolves were re-introduced in 1995, roughly 70 years after they had been hunted to extinction.Their absence for several generations had severe consequences for the entire ecosystem. Yellowstone was plagued by an unbalanced ecosystem. Without wolves, the elk population had exploded, and the elks were overgrazing willows and aspens. As a result, songbirds began to decline and beavers could no longer build their dams which meant that riverbanks in Yellowstone Park started to erode.
The presence of the wolves as predator saved the National Park and many of the species who live there. This is why the wolf is called a keystone species. The wolves were causing "a trophic cascade of ecological change" which effected not just their prey animals, the elks, but they also helped to increase the population of other animals, like beavers, birds, foxes, etc., and all this significantly affected the vegetation, the rivers, providing a healthy balanced ecosystem.
There are numerous resources on the wolves of Yellowstone Park. See for example:
Some Videos on the Wolves in Yellowstone Park
And on the Franco-German TV station ARTE, we find this documentary (teaser): Les loups ont sauvé le parc de Yellowstone!
Wolves Protect Forests // Wölfe schützen Wälder // Les loups protègent les fôrets
Wolves and the forests in Switzerland
Wolves and lynx are necessary to address the imbalance between game and forest, according to the Swiss Mountain Forest Project Foundation ("Stiftung Bergwaldprojekt" (link). One problem is that ungulates eat the young saplings and make a rejuvenation of the mountain forests virtually impossible. Since wolves had become extinct, hunting has not helped to regulate the number of ungulates. But the return of the wolf has changed this. Studies have shown (see link below to Bergwaldprojekt.ch) that the renewed presence of the wolves did not significantly reduce the number of ungulates, but it affected their distribution across the forest which helps the rejuvenation.
About 60 to 80 wolves live in Switzerland at the moment: they kill approximately 200 animals (e.g., sheep) per year. This has to be put in perspective: 4,000 sheep die each year in Switzerland because of illness and falls.
Again, as you can see from the article below, politicians aim to make it easier to kill wolves. But this is not only counter-productive, it also contradicts the Bern convention for the protection of wildlife from 1981.
MORE TO COME SOON...
Ten good reasons why wolves are essential // Zehn gute Gründe warum Wölfe essenziell sind! // Dix raisons pourquoi les loups sont essentiels !
The flyer below was posted by the Wolf Conservation Center (@nywolforg): ten reasons why wolves are essential: #standforwolves
In case you can't read the flyer of the Wolf Conservation Center above, here is a short summary of the main reasons... in English, French and German.
Le loup est important pour la biodiversité. Pour les informations en francais, vous pourriez lire, par exemple.
Further links on wolves //
Weitere Links zum Thema Wölfe:
Disclaimer: I accept no resposibiliy for any of these external links. The last time I checked they provided useful information on wolves. If any of the links no longer work or if any of these external websites is not appropriate, please let me know.