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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Wolves That Changed Rivers

Wolves That Changed Rivers

Gray Wolf (credit: Yellowstone National Park)


Re-introduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park created a ecological cascade of effects, many unexpected. The top predators changed the population structure of other species, as new ones re-appeared, and numbers were adjusted. Vegetation patterns and density were even altered.

Some of the impacts from the Park's restored wolves were a surprise and never considered. Rivers themselves were changed as the entire ecosystem readapted to the dynamics of the top species affecting all the others.

Imagine if the top predators are restored to other parks and reserves in other parts of the world where they are now vacant. Those landscapes would experience their own ecological 'cascade'.


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