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Life ain’t always beautiful ~ mother moose and calf

A mother moose nurses a newborn calf she delivered after being attacked by wolves. This was a touching scene as the mother moose was clearly in trauma, yet she was still very consciences about the care of her newborn calf. The care she gave the calf despite injuries all over her body from a wolf attack.

A wilderness drama that is, well just that, a drama. Nature is synonymous with survival of the fittest. Yes I lost my objectivity while shooting this video. The life and death of babies have a way of doing that.

Two Wolves, reflection, Yellowstone National Park
Two Wolves, reflection, Yellowstone National Park

Many comments on YouTube disparaged me for sympathizing with the moose although while there I was hoping to be present when the wolves come to finish them off.

Since reintroduction of the wolves, the population of most grazing animals (ungulates) is half of what it was in 1994. That said the populations were artificially high because of the absence of the wolf an apex predator.

What we can expect in the Greater Yellowstone and beyond in the future I believe will be an ebb and flow of predator and prey populations whereas the numbers of wolves increase the ungulates decrease to a point the wolf population collapses at which time the ungulate population will again rise.

Romantic notions of the “balance of nature” lead easily to the false conclusion that if we simply “let nature take its course,” abundance will naturally result. The historical reality is that much different. Alaska was hungry territory when US Army explorers began to penetrate the Interior in the late 19th century. Some of these parties nearly starved for lack of game. The Athabascan inhabitants of the Interior often struggled with starvation because of the scarcity of game. The “balance of nature” there seems to have been weighted more to scarcity than abundance.

Wolves in wild places are good for the environment although rough on our grazing animal populations. Besides reducing the number of animals they also keep the ungulates moving around and keep them from over grazing the lush riparian areas.

Yellowstone’s beavers left Yellowstone after the wolves were annihilated as overgrazing of the riparian areas resulted in the ungulates also eating Aspen, Cottonwood, and willow sprouts, this depleted the beaver’s food source (saplings) to unsustainable levels. Now that the ungulates are fewer and are being chased from the riparian areas the beavers have returned to Yellowstone

Nature, it ain’t always beautiful!

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