Monday, March 03, 2008

If you are frothing at the mouth to kill wolves, how do you feel about pronghorn?

Science Daily issued this press release today: Are Wolves The Pronghorn's Best Friend?
Over a three-year period, researchers radio-collared more than 100 fawns in wolf-free and wolf-abundant areas of Grand Teton National Park and monitored their survival throughout the summer. The results showed that only 10 percent of fawns survived in areas lacking wolves, but where coyote densities were higher. In areas where wolves were abundant, 34 percent of pronghorn fawns survived. Wolves reduce coyote numbers by killing them outright or by causing them to shift to safer areas of the Park not utilized by wolves.

"This study shows just how complex relationships between predators and their prey can be," said Berger. "It's an important reminder that we often don't understand ecosystems nearly as well as we think we do, and that our efforts to manipulate them can have unexpected consequences."
So, in other words, this study is a basic lesson in ecology.

A bunch of conservation groups have filed a notice of intent to sue over the gray wolf delisting rule, saying it was based on some fuzzy math and not enough protections in the states wolves' inhabit (i.e. a bunch of bloodthirsty yahoos hoping to hang wolf skins on their walls).

1 comment:

Marion said...

Wasn't Dr. Berger the one who jsut did a study & stated that jack rabbits have not been seen in the GYE since 1991? Then a couple of days later another biologist reported seeing them virtually every day. Of course folks living in the real world outside of the borders see them all of the time.
Now a good study would compare wolves in southern Wyoming where half of the wold's pronghorns live (and few wolves, but lots of coyotes) with say the population in Yellowstone with lots of wolves and supposedly few coyotes.