In the course of about 10 days, over 1,000 people from around the world signed the petition asking the National Park Service to reconsider their plan to have sharpshooters kill hundreds of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, asking the agency to instead fully consider leading an effort to restore wolves (and thus wolf predation) to the Park and surrounding national forest lands. Good on you all!
A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that wolves are a critical force in maintaining biodiversity. More directly, science indicates that the presence of wolves benefits aspen and willow growth because elk (and other grazing animals) must move around more to avoid wolves. In fact, aspen and willow communities in Yellowstone have rebounded dramatically after wolf reintroduction. Despite this evidence, the National Park Service has issued a draft management plan for Rocky Mountain National Park’s elk population that acknowledges that restoring wolves to the Park is the only sure-fire way to help aspen and willow rebound from decades of overgrazing by elk, while simultaneously dismissing wolf restoration as politically infeasible.
Sinapu will forward all of the petition signatures to the Park Service along with our detailed comments on the plan. Stay-tuned in the coming months for updates. Thanks, once again!