Museum Minute: Reintroduction Of Wolves To Yellowstone

Dec 6, 2019

Credit Photo Doug Smith via nps.gov/yell

Almost 25 years ago, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. Wolves originally roamed the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, but, in the 1900s, they were wiped out. Settlers in the West poisoned and killed wolves in such high numbers that the animal was not seen in the area for decades.

Then back in 1995, grey wolves were brought down from Canada to Yellowstone. Corey Anco, the assistant curator of the Draper Natural History Museum, said the animals were brought down in metal crates. And the museum has one of those original crates.

“In a nutshell, the wolf reintroduction tells the story of re-wilding one of America's greatest parks and one of the greatest science experiments ever taken,” said Anco.

But he admits it was a controversial road to recovery.

“They generate a pretty wide range of emotion from people, everything from being revered to being loathed and every feeling in between,” said Anco. “That said, wildlife managers are caught in the middle then of how best to manage this species.”

As the 25th anniversary approaches this January, those emotions are still mixed, but the wolves are thriving.