WEBVTT 00:00:05.000 --> 00:00:09.000 Yes. Wolves that live primarily in Yellowstone 00:00:09.000 --> 00:00:12.000 have been killed outside the park. 00:00:12.000 --> 00:00:14.000 This probably has not affected the population 00:00:14.000 --> 00:00:16.000 much numerically. 00:00:16.000 --> 00:00:20.000 One year we lost 12% of our population in 2012. 00:00:20.000 --> 00:00:23.000 This year we lost only four wolves. 00:00:23.000 --> 00:00:24.000 Last year we lost none. 00:00:24.000 --> 00:00:27.000 So the number of wolves taken is highly variable, 00:00:27.000 --> 00:00:30.000 and generally below 3%. 00:00:30.000 --> 00:00:33.000 Except that year in 2012 where it reached 12%, 00:00:33.000 --> 00:00:36.000 and it probably didn't, even at that level, 00:00:36.000 --> 00:00:38.000 affect our population numerically. 00:00:38.000 --> 00:00:39.000 But what's important, 00:00:39.000 --> 00:00:43.000 and the reason my answer to that question was "yes" is, 00:00:43.000 --> 00:00:44.000 the park service mission is 00:00:44.000 --> 00:00:47.000 to manage for a natural population. 00:00:47.000 --> 00:00:49.000 Wolves are very social animals, 00:00:49.000 --> 00:00:53.000 so they have a social network that's important 00:00:53.000 --> 00:00:55.000 to how they function as a pack or a family. 00:00:55.000 --> 00:00:58.000 And we don't have as much information 00:00:58.000 --> 00:01:00.000 on that social functioning as we do 00:01:00.000 --> 00:01:03.000 about their population numbers. 00:01:03.000 --> 00:01:06.000 And we know that there is a harvestable surplus 00:01:06.000 --> 00:01:07.000 in terms of numbers, 00:01:07.000 --> 00:01:11.000 and that has not been exceeded so far for Yellowstone. 00:01:11.000 --> 00:01:13.000 But there are some questions 00:01:13.000 --> 00:01:17.000 if you remove a key wolf in the pack. 00:01:17.000 --> 00:01:19.000 A high ranking individual, so to speak. 00:01:19.000 --> 00:01:23.000 What's the impact on that pack? 00:01:23.000 --> 00:01:27.000 Or a second ranking individual. 00:01:27.000 --> 00:01:29.000 What does that do to pack dynamics? 00:01:29.000 --> 00:01:31.000 In one case, it caused the pack to split apart. 00:01:31.000 --> 00:01:33.000 Was that because that high ranking individual 00:01:33.000 --> 00:01:38.000 was removed or would that pack have split up naturally? 00:01:38.000 --> 00:01:39.000 Those are important questions 00:01:39.000 --> 00:01:40.000 for the park service to wrestle with. 00:01:40.000 --> 00:01:45.000 Because even though it doesn't affect the numbers of wolves, 00:01:45.000 --> 00:01:48.000 it affects how wolves live on the landscape 00:01:48.000 --> 00:01:50.000 and function to themselves. 00:01:50.000 --> 00:01:54.000 And places like Yellowstone hold this dearly, 00:01:54.000 --> 00:01:58.000 because most wolves across North America 00:01:58.000 --> 00:02:00.000 are impacted by people. 00:02:00.000 --> 00:02:05.000 And most biologists would argue, at a sustainable level. 00:02:05.000 --> 00:02:07.000 We still have lots of wolves across North America, 00:02:07.000 --> 00:02:12.000 but we really don't know certain aspects about wolf life. 00:02:12.000 --> 00:02:17.000 And this social aspect is the one we know the least about. 00:02:17.000 --> 00:02:20.000 So if we're going to be managers of Yellowstone 00:02:20.000 --> 00:02:23.000 that pursue these ideals of naturalness, 00:02:23.000 --> 00:02:27.000 I think it's important to include all aspects. 00:02:27.000 --> 00:02:32.000 And so, which wolves get removed, and how that impacts 00:02:32.000 --> 00:02:36.000 the pack and the population, and importantly 00:02:36.000 --> 00:02:38.000 the packs' relationship to each other, 00:02:38.000 --> 00:02:41.000 because they're always competing against each other, 00:02:41.000 --> 00:02:43.000 and if one pack loses some key individuals, 00:02:43.000 --> 00:02:46.000 we know that the individual makeup of packs 00:02:46.000 --> 00:02:49.000 affects how they compete with each other. 00:02:49.000 --> 00:02:51.000 It also affects how they prey on elk. 00:02:51.000 --> 00:02:55.000 We know big males are important to helping take down elk. 00:02:55.000 --> 00:02:58.000 So those are questions we're wrestling with. 00:02:58.000 --> 00:03:01.000 So to say removing wolf has no impact 00:03:00.000 --> 00:03:03.000 on the wolf population, you have to qualify what you mean. 00:03:03.000 --> 00:03:06.000 Are you talking numeric, or are you talking social? 00:03:06.000 --> 00:03:09.000 And we're still looking for those answers.