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Yellowstone Wolf Reintroduction by Dr. Nathan Varley

  • Salida SteamPlant Event Center 220 West Sackett Avenue Salida, CO, 81201 United States (map)

Nathan worked on the Yellowstone Gray Wolf Recovery Program as a seasonal volunteer field biologist from 1995 to 2005. Although wolf packs once roamed from the Arctic tundra to Mexico, loss of habitat and extermination programs led to their demise throughout most of the United States by early in the 1900s. In 1973, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the northern Rocky Mountain wolf (Canis lupus) as an endangered species and designated Greater Yellowstone as one of three recovery areas. From 1995 to 1997, 41 wild wolves from Canada and northwest Montana were released in Yellowstone National Park. The wolves from the growing population dispersed to establish territories outside the park where they are less protected from human-caused mortalities. The park helps ensure the species’ long-term viability in Greater Yellowstone and has provided a place for research on how wolves may affect many aspects of the ecosystem.