The reintroduction of gray wolves to our first national park has been described as a near-miracle, having occurred at one of those rare moments when stars align in the political sky. A wildlife conservation effort with such positive environmental impact (and ongoing controversy) will likely go unmatched for a long time.
But with the support of the American public almost two decades ago, a new chapter in Yellowstone’s history began, with a homecoming that changed the park for the better ecologically, and the surrounding communities economically.
Yellowstone officials fear that proposed changes to Montana’s wolf plan will make it too easy to target wolves that live primarily within the park. Twelve Yellowstone wolves were killed in the 2012-2013 season after traveling into adjacent areas of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
How is it that wolves can be considered worthless, when a 2006 study by University of Montana researchers found that the return of wolves to Yellowstone brings an estimated $35 million in annual tourist revenue to the surrounding communities. Sadly, the economic and ecological value of wolves remains ignored.