September 24, 2023

The Trophic Cascade by Wolves Isn’t What It Was Cracked Up to Be

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Below is a “teaser” from an article about whether of not the notion that the presence of wolves in Yellowstone actually resulted in a “trophic cascade” that caused elk to run and hide (and not be killed by wolves…snicker) and vegetation to regrow in places that would benefit other species.

It’s a good read and an interesting one. I marvel at how some of these fools whose actions on wolves caused massive damage to people, the landscape and prey species, innocently go about their work as though no foul no harm.

From the article:

“It’s well-supported in the literature that animals that are near death by starvation basically ignore predation completely,” Kauffman explained. “If you are in really poor condition it’s worth the risk to feed in a risky place because you have to feed or you will die.”

All of this, Kauffman said, points to the fact that wolves don’t influence elk behavior enough to spur aspen recruitment in risky areas. He sums it up this way “Elk certainly respond behaviorally to the predation risk posed by wolves, but those small alterations to feeding and moving across the landscape don’t seem to add up to long-term benefits for aspen, even in the riskiest areas.”<<<Read More>>>