Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why Beavers Like Wolves (the short version)




Save a wolf, save a beaver: You know that old adage about how all species are connected? Turns out it’s called a “trophic cascade,” and here's a great example: wolves force elk to browse more cautiously, leading to bigger stands of aspen, leading to better habitat for beavers, whose ponds provide homes for fish, frogs, and birds (not to mention flood control for the hairless, bipedal primates who live along the river’s edge). Still, that knowledge hasn't stopped the Fish and Wildlife Service from removing Wyoming wolves from the Endangered Species List, to the glee of hunters. Apparently USFWS were absent on “Everything is Connected!” day back in 7th-grade biology.