Yellowstone’s Wolves |  Archive – Video

Yellowstone’s Wolves | Archive – Video

The wolves of Yellowstone have experienced a tumultuous journey, from being wiped out in the early 20th century to making a triumphant return in the 1990s. The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park sparked a fierce debate between wildlife enthusiasts and ranchers, but no one could have predicted the far-reaching impact of these majestic creatures.

Today, the wolves of Yellowstone are the most observed and studied in the world, with researchers closely monitoring their behavior and interactions. The presence of wolves has led to a delicate balance in the ecosystem, with elk populations decreasing and plant life thriving once again.

However, not everyone is pleased with the wolves’ return. Ranchers have faced challenges with livestock attacks, leading to a divide between those who see wolves as a vital part of the environment and those who view them as a threat.

Despite the controversy, one thing is clear – the wolves are back in Yellowstone for good, captivating the hearts of visitors and researchers alike with their raw and untamed beauty.

Watch the video by 60 Minutes

Video Transcript

60 Minutes rewind it’s safe to say that wolves have an image problem since ancient times they’ve been portrayed in fables and legends and the Bible as fearsome voracious Predators the story of the big bad wolf may be the most memorable and frightening of all the fairy tales told

By the brothers Grim that Grim reputation actually produced a very real result in America in in the early 20th century wolves were wiped off the landscape trapped poisoned and hunted until there was not a single one left in the American West when the National Park Service decided to bring wolves back to

Yellowstone Park in the 1990s it followed a bitter debate between Wildlife groups who wanted them restored and ranchers who most definitely didn’t two decades later the Wolves of Yellowstone still stir strong strong emotions but they’ve also had an impact that almost no one saw coming in the dead of winter Yellowstone

Park is a beautiful but forbidding Place howling wind Sub-Zero temperatures 6 ft of snow just finding enough food to survive is a profound struggle for every animal water foul bison elk foxes they all have to work for every morsel Yellowstone was the world’s first national park founded in

1872 and it remains one of the most visited millions of people come here every summer but they used to pretty much leave it to the wildlife in the winter until the Wolves came back oh they’re behind the tree now reports of a wolf sighting can produce a traffic jam

Along the 150m stretch of road the the park service keeps open in the winter oh we got a wol moving visitors with spotting Scopes Gather in absolutely frigid weather for a momentary long distance view bill these folks came from Germany to see wolves Doug Smith runs the Yellowstone wolf research program

For the park service and no one predicted this would happen actually you know the the appeal of of coming in to see the Wolves yes and it truly has been amazing and hundreds of thousands of people a year we estimate come here just to see wolves wolf tourism pumps $35 million a

Year into the local economy much of it spent in the winter which is prime wolf watching time we’ve seen wolves all three days that we’ve been out Glenn Mai is a retired FBI agent from Arlington Virginia Kathy Lumbard is a retired cop from New Hampshire they both paid an

Outfitter thousands of dollars to take them wolf watching so what is it about wolves that bring you all the way out here from New Hampshire to sit out here and just hope for the chance to see them they’ve been able to bring wolves back into Yellowstone and they’ve thrived so

That’s just an awesome thing to see it was January 12th 1995 when the first Grey Wolves captured in Canada were carried into Yellowstone park it drew both national attention and fierce opposition so much that armed guards were posted to protect those wolves so the first wolves released into Yellowstone Park were released right

Back here in this Thicket yes so a total of 41 over three years how many are in the park now we’ve got 96 in 10 packs and it’s been roughly 100 wolves the last 10 years very stable those 10 packs of about 10 wolves each are without a doubt the most closely

Observed and studied wolves on Earth our goal is to keep touch with each pack that’s our goal they do that by trying to attach radio callers to at least two wolves in each of the Park’s packs so you fly out in the airplane find wolves in the open that airplane radios a

Waiting helicopter on the ground that helicopter flies out with a gunner in the back seat that Gunner is almost always Smith himself looed okay and you fly up alongside that wolf and you shoot a tranquilizing dart into it D in D in 5 minutes it goes down we process the

Wolves we take blood we measure them we look at their health and we attach a radio collar and then we follow them for their life hopefully that life by the way typically lasts about 5 years Yellowstone wolves are Fierce and territorial the leading cause of death is attacks from other wolves

And their look is uncontrollable that look says I ain’t going to conform to your rules and I’ll die before I do and that’s powerful that is a location of a wolf data from the radio callers has helped Smith team to learn volumes about wolf Behavior you see where the boulder

Is by itself it also helps all those wolf Watchers find them Park Service employee Rick McIntyre is out every day listening for signals so that is from a black male wolf 1107 and then spreading the word would you like to see a gray wolf love to okay there you

Go so it’s a little bit right of Center oh yeah oh look here comes the whole pack uhhuh wow so see if you can count them all there would be two Grays and six blacks four five six black ones and the white one that went by and there should be a second

Gray how about that we had spotted The Junction but pack along a ridgel line about 2 mi away like most packs it’s led by an alpha male and an alpha female the only two wolves in a pack who mate with each other the gry alpha female is still

Leading to the right oh yeah and you see how the ones behind her are playing uhhuh she’s determined to lead them to the West they’re running along the top right along the ridge yeah that’s magnificent we can see these wolves from the ground and it’s been a sensation so

We’ve learned a lot about pack Dynamics and personalities and and how social they are what do you mean describe that for me they want to be together they’re a pack animal so the power of the wolf is the pack nowhere is that power more evident than when a wolf pack is on the

Hunt for Elk its favorite prey they work together because they have to your average wolf weighs 100 lb or so but your average prey animal is much bigger a bull elk 750 lb a cic’s 500 so how’s a roughly 100 120 lb animal going to take

That down they do it Doug Smith says both by coordinating their attack and by zeroing in on vulnerable prey they’re going to take the week so they’re making their living off of cath elk old elk injured elk the story will continue after this without wolves there was an overpopulation of elk in Yellowstone

As wolves have cut the size of those herds there’s been an unexpected side effect plants that elk feed on have made a comeback which has in turn produced benefits for other species all the little trees have come back since wolf recovery this Gully filled with shrubs has all come back since wolf recovery

And the wolves are a factor in all of that very simply put wolves eat Elk elk eat this when the elk get reduced they eat less so beavers and song birds can respond to the growth in that vegetation and Doug Smith is quick to say that it’s

Not as simple as he just made it sound but that hasn’t stopped some environmentalist from declaring wolves the saviors of Yellowstone’s ecology there’s some people who will try to convince you that wolves could probably solve Mast peace and world hunger Randy Newberg is a Montana Hunter who hosts a

TV show and podcast for hunters he remembers how emotional the debate over reintroduction was between wolf haters and wolf lovers wolves are wolves they aren’t the big bad wolf and they don’t have a rainbow shooting out their ass like everyone would think they do there’s something romantic about a

Wolf right unless you’ve seen it chewing on a live cow Eric ca’s family has been raising cattle and sheep on this Montana Ranch for 100 years he says he was worried from the moment the first wolves were brought back to Yellowstone which is about 100 miles to the South you know they weren’t

Going to stay in the park they’re a wild animal they’ go where they want to go I’m sure you knew it was only a matter of time before they were going to get here oh yes there was no doubt and there was a set of tracks very like Eric CA

Knew that wolves would follow migrating elk out of Yellowstone and on to to his Ranch and that they’d attack his livestock if given the chance he started hiring range Riders to watch over his cattle and he bought guard dogs to help keep wolves away from his sheep live

Sheep pay for things live cattle pay for things and Deadwood Stone his defensive measures have kept wolves away from his livestock but neighboring Ranchers have lost both cattle and sheep to wolves the thing that’s never monitored when I talk to these people is the Lost nights of sleep

Uh the nervousness uh I saw a wolf track on my place today or I actually saw a wolf wolves are around you can’t measure or compensate for that are wolf attacks on livestock a a serious problem no it’s rare that it happens but if it’s happening to you it’s a serious problem

It was that fear of wolf attacks that drove ranchers and settlers to eradicate them in the early 20th century after the endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 wolves were among the first to be listed and a campaign began to restore them to Yellowstone Park after that happened in the 9s

Wolves quickly spread out of Yellowstone and into neighboring states so many that there are now nearly 2,000 in Montana Wyoming and Idaho after a long and bitter legal battle those States finally won the authority to man Ag and sometimes kill wolves outside the national park has this management of the

Wolves help to lessen some of those passions to calm some of those emotions I think so so to have wolves you have to kill the wolves in some situations yes the first situation is cut and dried any wolves that attack livestock are immediately killed themselves I think that’s helped

A lot at least with the ranching Community people feel better if they’re not powerless to deal with something and then wolves are hunted there’s a hunting season on wolves all three states have them so having wolves be hunted has probably increased people’s willingness to share the landscape with them looks

Like there’s at least two of them Randy Newberg is living proof of that he filmed a wolf hunt a few years ago for his TV show it took him 11 days and a 100 miles of trudging and tracking through the snow you went out looking

For a wolf and saw how smart they are how cunning they are how athletic they are yeah if you want to increase your respect for wolves go and chase them out on their landscape hunters and ranchers and Avid wolf Watchers rarely see eye to eye but they now agree on at least one

Thing we’ve got a gray wolves are back in Yellowstone for good oh my God yes people love this you know we live in an artificial world it’s stores and cars and Roads and buildings wolves are real and people crave it they love it we almost have this thirst for something real now

About 60 Minutes

“60 Minutes,” the most successful television broadcast in history. Offering hard-hitting investigative reports, interviews, feature segments and profiles of people in the news, the broadcast began in 1968 and is still a hit, over 50 seasons later, regularly making Nielsen’s Top 10.

Video “The wolves of Yellowstone | 60 Minutes Archive” was uploaded on 03/02/2024 to Youtube Channel 60 Minutes