Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How wolves change rivers

Ecology is an ongoing question for humans mainly because we have the ability to change life forms dramatically. Do we always know in what way it will be going? Do a lot of people, who live in cities, think that what happens out there, in the back of beyond, it doesn't matter to them? This is a great little video about balance in nature with Yellowstone and the wolves as its example. Oregon will soon be asking if it should support wolf packs. Educating ourselves to the cost and benefit is important-- or should be.

I was in Yellowstone before the wolves returned and have been there many times since. Even I observed how much they changed animal behavior. 


vegahelp said...

An interesting segment on wolves, but it also brought to mind the overarching system of risk-reduction in this country. Why did we get rid of wolves? Mainly because they scare us and they may kill a few people or pets. Not to diminish the value of any life, but nature thrives an is driven by risk and how we (people) handle it.

I think the same is true about much of government and the recent overarching policies that try to stamp out all risk at the cost of its benefits. Just a thought.

Rain Trueax said...

vegahelp, I agree with a lot of what you said. If our ancestors had wanted to avoid all risk, America would still belong to the Native Americans ;)

As a rancher who raises cattle and sheep, I can well understand the concern some have with returning the wolves. Northeastern Oregon has killed off a pack that the ranchers claimed were killing their cattle (otherwise known as slow moving elk). But I also see the ecological benefits of returning them. There are methods that lead to aversion of cattle rather than killing all the wolves. They learn like a dog does-- but once killed, no knowledge comes back to the pack.

There is little more thrilling than hearing the wolves in what is almost a song. I've been lucky enough to hear it several times in Yellowstone and could imagine it where i live someday-- but like the coyotes with the sheep, it would also lead to more worries for all who grow livestock.

Annie said...

Wonderful video. Enjoyed it very much. Remarkable changes.

We have coywolves here, not sure how that is going to turn out. They arrived here in the '70s and have thrived. Too common to eradicate I think, so humans just have to adapt to their presence. I doubt they have the same beneficial effects on the ecosystem, but perhaps it is too early to tell. They will go after deer but prefer smaller game. Livestock and pets are at risk.

Tabor said...

We have taken up so much space and changed the surface of the earth so much...certainly over 50% and yet we still think we can keep things in balance and we think we can prevent extinction. We keep pretending that we can adjust and tamper and move and fix things until we have a perfect ecology. I fear not. Compromise will give us a small example of the chaos that is earth.

Rain Trueax said...

I accept extinction as a natural part of life on this earth. It's how it's been all along and we could find ourselves in the same boat. What I resent is the kind of extinction that is not natural-- like killing elephants for their tusks, eliminating the buffalo to subdue the Native Americans, killing off birds for their feathers, etc. We can't protect every species and if we believe in evolution, we accept that. But we sure can stop the elimination of whole species for our convenience. It doesn't work well even for ourselves... not that you can convince some

Rubye Jack said...

Thanks for the video Rain. I was totally ignorant of the fact that wolves had been taken out. It seems only the right thing to do to bring them back. I like how in the video it talks about how the rivers even changed thanks to the wolves.