Yellowstone national Park


August 7, 2015 in Yellowstone national Park Ranger found gnawed human body — next to walking trail and very close to one of the local hotels. The victim was quickly identified — it was 63-year-old lance Crosby, a nurse from parkland hospital.

During the investigation it became clear that before the tragedy, Crosby went for a walk alone, forgetting to take the spray, scaring away bears. To his misfortune, accident stumbled upon a grizzly mom with two cubs. After killing the victim and her pretty obglodan (sequence, sadly, could be the opposite, given the habits of bears)

Allowing the cubs to feast ad libitum, dipper hid the remains — buried in the dirt and pine needles, as is commonly done grizzly, intending to return for prey. “Suspect” was quickly caught and, after a DNA examination confirmed that the bear killed a man, put to sleep: adult grizzly bear tasted human flesh, and even propriatary the prey too dangerous. Such a beast cannot be allowed to live — even if the fatal fight happened not through his fault. “Our hearts are broken from pain. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and mourn with the family and friends of the deceased,” said Park Director Dan Wenk. Wenk aims to solve a difficult task — to ensure the safety of Yellowstone and the people and the animals.

Yellowstone Park: with more than 140 years ago, people first entered into a contract with the wildlife. This Treaty works to this day, moreover, becomes even more relevant — and not only at Yellowstone — as a world of people increasingly occurs in the world of nature.

Whether these worlds to negotiate?

The first European who explored Yellowstone was John colter. Being one of the members of the expedition of Lewis and Clark, who explored the North-West USA, John colter in 1807 he described the Western regions of Wyoming, including Yellowstone. Coulter colorfully painted what he saw geysers and hot springs, but did not believe him, believing his stories and fables described calling them “a hell of Coulter”.

Later, in the year 1850 Yellowstone visited the hunter and Explorer Jim Bridger. Also, as Colter, Bridger with his stories about beating out of the land of the fountains of hot water and steam, considered the inventor.

After the civil war in the early seventies of the nineteenth century the U.S. government funded the research of the North-Western regions of the country. In 1871, the district has studied the Yellowstone expedition led by the American geologist and naturalist Ferdinand Hayden. Hayden prepared a report on Yellowstone, including photographs of William Jackson and paintings by Thomas Moran that convinced the U.S. Congress in 1872 to enact a law on the establishment of Yellowstone national Park, the first national Park in the United States.

Some parts of Yellowstone today, even more wild than a hundred years ago. That grizzly is getting bigger. This, from the national Park Grand Teton, prudently warding off the crows from the Buffalo carcass, which Park workers dragged from the road — away from scavengers and tourists. Photo: Charlie Hamilton James

Grizzly bears, of course, very dangerous animals, but they are predictable threat. Lance Crosby became their seventh victim in Yellowstone over the last hundred years. In 144 years of existence, Yellowstone national Park, many more people died here in the thermal pools — drowned or been scalded, and suicide were recorded more often than death by the fault of the bears. By the way, from lightning affected approximately the same number of visitors, how many from grizzly. Two killed bison.

“Joust”: the bison during the rut came together in the valley of the Lamar river. More than 4.5 thousand American bison roam freely across the Yellowstone. And they are all descendants of several dozen animals that have found refuge in the Park about a century ago, when the species began to save from extinction. Photo: Michael Nichols

In fact, the lesson to be learned from the death of Sidney Crosby’s second of the tragedy — in fact, executions killed his bear, is simple: Yellowstone national Park — the realm of wild nature, and thus established the human frame and the limit here is rather arbitrary. The Park abounds in natural wonders — including ferocious animals, they are the same part, like deep canyons, thundering waterfalls and thermal springs. Proud and independent, animals certainly give pleasure to those who admire them, but to admire is one thing, to communicate is another.

Accurate like a clock: every 60-110 minutes, the old Faithful geyser, shoots steam and hot water 56 meters. During summer, the Park is never empty — barely one car pulls away, its place is different. “One of the nightmares of any Director of the Yellowstone if old Faithful will cease to gush in my directorship?” — laughs Dan Wenk.

The majority of visitors, getting to Yellowstone, you can see it just through a plexiglass showcase. Out the car window watching the bear on the side of the road, stop to view from afar on the deep river, walking at a respectful distance along the geysers — word, consider the Park as a diorama in the Museum: they are out of danger. But it is necessary to depart from the road some two hundred meters down into a ravine or a forest of wormwood: neither of which security speech is no more, and no spray with bear spray is nothing to do here. Wildlife within the established boundaries, the animals are forced to obey the rules the person — the paradox of advanced civilization.

It’s all very complicated, and over time will become even more difficult — the word “Yellowstone” today should involve not only the Park. It represents a huge ecosystem, large-scale complex, untamed landscapes and nature in all 48 continental States. The Great Yellowstone ecosystem is a huge territory, including national Park Grand Teton, national forest sites, nature reserves and other public and private ownership — for all in all about 9 million hectares. They are surrounded by “border area” — here you will meet rather a goat than a deer, more likely to see a tractor than a grizzly, and hear the barking of some of the Labrador and not the wolf howl. And for the “border territories” extends America of the XXI century: the highway, city, Parking lots, shopping malls.

Question: is it possible to save in the heart of modern America’s pristine landscapes, these specimens of the savage in the best sense of the word, where enough space and predators, and their victims, where nature is allowed to remain nature — with blood on the fangs and claws of predators? Can a similar ecosystem to live in harmony with man — submitting to his demands, and something in favor of sacrificing his comfort? Time will tell. But if the answer still is “Yes”, “Yes” refers primarily to Yellowstone.

Grand prismatic spring in Yellowstone national Park, USA.

The Park is, as they say geologists, Yellowstone plateau, the average height of 2.4 thousand meters. This plateau is covered with thick groves of pine, interspersed with grassy mountain meadows and thickets of wormwood, and on the sides stretches of almost straight roads — I think they cut the cold and frozen earth.

But not so easy with the Yellowstone plateau: directly underneath is an extensive thermal anomaly or “hot spot”. Hence through the earth’s crust erupts a powerful heat flux, melting everything in its path and turning rocks into two giant magma chamber, arranged one above the other.

This magmatic bubble ready to burst — to break a super massive eruption at any moment. And around random shafts to the horizon rise the Rocky mountains, the most ancient and highest of them — such as the ridges of the Teton, Absaroka, Gallatin, are located closer to the center of the volcano. On the plateau, geologists have discovered three huge crater — signs of volcanic eruptions that occurred in the last 2.1 million years. These eruptions and provided “hot spot” of the honorary title of Yellowstone “SUPERVOLCANO”. Ordinary volcanoes tend to originate along the edges of tectonic plates, volcanoes burn the very tectonic plate, like a welding torch burning through steel sheet. And Yellowstone “burner” seems to be the biggest of hiding in the bowels of the earth the “hot spots”.

More than a third of Yellowstone, including the Grand prismatic spring, located in the Caldera of a giant ancient but still active volcano. One day he wakes up again (disaster!), but, say scientists, the chances that this will happen in the near future, are negligible.

Once upon a time people come here, ancestors of the indigenous American tribes — Indians-Shoshone, and today is closely related ancient traditions with these places. From time to time they left the plateau — nomadic lifestyle forced them to move in search of food, fur and relative comfort.

And then began the invasion flocked here and Eastern standard European fur traders. But Yellowstone was not conquered and colonized, unlike other areas of the American West, ” partly because the mountain plateau was distinguished by a severe winter: some of the hunters for furs, catching the local cold, did not skimp on details — genuine and imaginary. Much later, in the years 1869-1871, three independent from each other expedition white (by the way, not hunters), accompanied by small groups of military visited here and were amazed by a very different — geysers, deep canyon and two giant waterfalls, which struck the Yellowstone river. One of these men, Nathaniel Langford, who arrived here in 1870, served on the Northern Pacific railroad.

Another expedition member, Walter Trumbull, later wrote: “When the waterfalls and geysers of Yellowstone will become more accessible, none of the regions of America will not be able to match him in popularity: it will be the best resort on the waters.” Langford associates went even further: he realized that the popularity of money bodes well for the Northern Pacific railroad, and along with all those who will be able to settle down somewhere — will sell tickets or to settle in hotels. The next expedition, in 1871, sent by Ferdinand Hayden, head of the U.S. Geological survey. Members of his group were photographer William Henry Jackson and artist Thomas Moran: both are brilliantly embodied Yellowstone, helping the audience to understand its beauty. Meanwhile, the agent of the Northern Pacific railroad decided to convince lawmakers to provide a Large pool of geysers in the public Park. Gayden jumped at this idea and with the support of Langford and other railway officials lobbied for the bill. Under the protection was not only geysers, but Grand canyon, Yellowstone river, hot springs, mammoth Hot springs, lake Yellowstone, Lamar valley and other areas — together they form a rectangle with an area of one million hectares. March 1, 1872 President Ulysses Simpson Grant signed the bill that made Yellowstone the first national Park. This law, that is not surprising for the time, completely ignored all the claims of the indigenous population. The document clarified that creates a “public Park for the benefit and happiness of the people.” The Indians under the concept of “people” did not fall. In the Park is strictly prohibited “wanton destruction of fish and game”. The situation is paradoxical.

Absolutely everything associated with the Park proved to be entirely new — the beaten track weren’t here. Yes there expensive — there are clear goals, there was no staff and budget. Congress seems to have lost interest in the idea, not had time to dry the ink on the presidential signature, and Yellowstone instantly turned into a disaster zone.

The Buffalo is widely used as a sacred animal in the traditional rites of American Indians. In Fort hall Leo Teton imprinted on the background of the post with the skulls of bison.

In winter herbivore in Yellowstone live a difficult life. To find the grass, the Buffalo sometimes has to “work his head” — so they break the deep snow. But in the valley of the river Fagerhol in the Upper basin geysers, everything is much easier: the snow here is melting faster, and the green shoots appear all year round from the warm soil.

The newly created Park was plunged into chaos. Fishers acted arrogantly: elk, bison, bighorn sheep and other ungulates were shot in industrial quantities. Say, a couple of savvy guys in the beginning of 1875 was shot about two thousand elk at mammoth Hot springs, and was interested in them only languages Yes skins — carcasses left to rot. History is silent as to how much the Grizzlies have destroyed these “hunters” in addition to the deer for the sake of profit or for the sake of fun, it is clear only one thing: the venison was a dangerous bait, forcing the bears to go straight under the gun. A deer skin was worth more in those days of money — six to eight dollars per day while a man could shoot from 25 to 50 animals. “From 1871 to 1881 there was just a mass slaughter,” — says Lee Wittlesey, historian of Yellowstone national Park. The antlers lying on the slopes. The number of ungulates began to decline. In 1886, out of sheer desperation, the government sent the army to protect Yellowstone and the soldiers defended the reserve over three dozen years, until in 1916 was created the national Park Service (this year the Agency celebrates its centennial anniversary).

In the twentieth century animals in Yellowstone often become victims of ill-conceived policy. The idea that the Park should be on a par with geysers and canyons to protect wild animals, came not at once. Besides, at first worthy of protection considered only “good animals”: the four-legged fowl, which he valued hunters, trout dreamed the fishermen, the glorious grazers, which wanted visitors to enjoy moose and elk, Belorukov, bison and bighorn sheep. The persecution of “bad” is still nothing prevented: from the 1870s predators were shot, poisoned. And one of the Directors of the Park even approved the purchase of traps to lime beavers: they built dams, and water at times flooded the Park. And hunting of wolves stopped only then, when there were wolves themselves — and not only in Yellowstone (where they are not become in the 1930s), but also throughout the American West.

The wolf pack is studying the traces of the grizzly bear in the valley of the Pelicans. Wolves began to return to Yellowstone in 1995, and now the population is booming, but researchers continue to closely monitor the animals.

The Park Service biologist Doug Smith will wear this the paralysed (he was injected with tranquilizers) the wolf radiogenic before the beast wakes up.

The carcass of the American bison, who was drowned in the Yellowstone river, became a cause for celebration alpha female (right) and her two year old cubs. Attack of the living bison is dangerous, where most of the Yellowstone wolves prey on elk, those account for 85 percent of winter wolf diet.

However, all these abuses have been thwarted, mistakes corrected, and some dangerous trends and is reversed in the late twentieth century, Yellowstone waited a full recovery. In 1995-1996, seven decades have passed since then, as the last wolf breathed his last, — from Western Canada to reserve brought 31 gray predator. Places were arriving to taste — they were fruitful and multiplied, thriving in the Park and spreading across the region. Simultaneously, another 35 wolves were released in Central Idaho. After 20 years in the Big Yellowstone was 500 wolves; there are another 1,300 wolves in the Northern Rocky mountains, and the grey wolf is the common name for a species of animals although the color can vary from pale yellow to black, was excluded from the endangered species of the States of Idaho and Montana. Today, mainly in the national Park, is home to about hundreds of wolves to ten packs, and all of them organise the follow-up, all of them provides protection Doug Smith, head of the project “Yellowstone wolf.”

Frosty December morning at the airport near Gardiner, Montana, just North of the Park, I climb into the cockpit of a light helicopter and arranged next to Doug Smith, to see how this project works. Smith, a tall man with a long white curled mustache and laughing eyes in the rays of wrinkles, is 37 years wolves, and Yellowstone — from the moment of their “upsetting” through his hands passed more than 500 animals, prepared for “calcomania” (the animals wore radio-collars, which the researchers obtained data on their movements and actions).

The helicopter rose into the sky and headed towards the Yellowstone river under the guidance of Jim Pope, pilot, fine feeling not only your car, but also wildlife. After a few minutes we gently sat on an island of pure snow. The crew of the Pope — a pair of “bandits” whose job was to, expanding the “self-network”, to throw her to the beasts, to jump and to administer the sedative caught animals, is already immobilized two wolves.

Didn’t waste any time and a colleague of Smith, Dan Stahler: in the company of two biologists, he was involved in “drugged” by the wolves. Kneeling in the snow, Staller finished with the collar for the animal is larger — a handsome black buck three years, with a small wound above his right eye. Second in line was a young female, light gray with brown head.

Lookout wearing purple medical gloves, although the weather is highly demanded warm mittens, Staler took the blood of the male’s right paw, and then plucked a single tiny shred of skin from the right ear to make DNA, Smith, meanwhile, was attached to the dog collar female. Having completed this, Doug measured the wolf: right front paw, body length, upper canine teeth — as much as three inches! But Smith drew my attention to the fangs, and the so-called carnivorous, or predatory, tooth. “This tooth is perfectly suited to cutting meat,” says Doug. Even when animals are asleep, drugged by tranquilizers, it is unlikely that someone will want to put his finger in the mouth”. However, the Dag did just that, looking at the fangs.

Smith and his team worked surprisingly well. Putting in a sling, they deftly the male weighed: 55 kg.

Then he took a stool sample and injected a microchip under the skin between the shoulder blades. Trail examined and weighed the wolf, measured her temperature rectally with a thermometer: it was slightly below normal. Then, wrapping a wolf in jackets, biologists have placed her on a plastic Mat, and in the inguinal region put chemical warmers to complete all the necessary procedures. When all desired data has been received, Doug invited me down next to him on his knees, in the snow, to the male, and to take up the head of a wolf — we’ll have a great photo. Gently hugged the sleeping beast, I noticed spots and gray hairs in the black fur. The language of the wolf fell out of mouth and hung limply. The beast was weak and helpless, but at the same time — gorgeous. “Look him in the eye,” he asked Doug. Wide, they poured a brownish copper.

“You are now looking at nature itself,” continued Smith, ” with which ready to end the so-called civilized world. Remember that look. We want to keep it. The entire Yellowstone — the story is just about it”. And the local grizzly bear — too “story about it”. In the first decades after the Foundation of the Park — however, as most of the XX century — those bears loved to lure tourists, besides the animals were allowed to eat garbage located in the Park hotels. It was believed that so they will be able to “tame” — that was easier for them to observe: a great show of wildlife. But the bears did not think to priuchatsya — they are and remain wild animals, powerful, fiercely protecting the offspring.

Nick Patrick on his ranch in Wyoming in 2013 was attacked by a grizzly bear, but he holds no evil. “She’s a mother and was just protecting her cubs,” says Nick.

A camera trap caught a grizzly when he reached for the apples. Bears often visit the yards of the ranch, located along the Northern border of Yellowstone.

And another grizzly insatiable — they need a lot of food, “good and different”. In Yellowstone their menu 266 includes animals, plants, fungi, and all that they consume in large quantities, especially in autumn, when fat fatten before hibernation. And here the most important menu items — the local subspecies of salmon Clark, Nephrolepis cones of pine trees — the last time was in short supply due to anthropogenic changes in the ecosystem, and other food becomes tight. But the Grizzlies have nothing to worry about — they, according to experts, will perfectly adapt to any change. All this time I somehow got to talking with Kerry Gunther, a colleague of Smith: everything that Doug does with the wolves, Kerry is doing with the bears. We sit at the far end of Yellowstone, surveying the surroundings. On the tourist maps, our attraction is not marked — a small but deep spring, where the Grizzlies like to splash around.

We spent all morning to get here. But I managed to learn almost everything that you have seen Gunter in 30 years of working in Yellowstone. Kerry — a quiet thoughtful man, confident in his science, admitting that the views of the people may be different, and dispassionate enough not to get tired of fierce disputes in which he and other managers are exposed to attacks by opponents from all sides.

The number of Grizzlies declined sharply in the 1970s, when the policy of the Park changed the emphasis: the emphasis was put not on wildlife and the spectacle with the participation of “domesticated” animals — the priority was the environment. I must say that such changes we owe significant event of 1963 — the report on the management of green economy Professor at the University of California Starker A. Leopold. This work was an important milestone in the evolution of ideas about what goals should serve as Yellowstone and what policies it should pursue. In the report entitled “Managing nature in the national parks”, prepared by order of the Minister of internal Affairs Stewart Udall, it was stressed that the natural conditions in all national parks “should be retained or if necessary reconstructed”.

The opinions of experts have dispersed. Life threw other arguments in dispute flares — one of them was the reaction to the two tragedies: in glacier Park grizzly twice attacked people. Perhaps between these deaths and there was no connection, but it all happened in one night in August 1967 and turned around closing all of the Yellowstone dumps.

Garbage “restaurants” closed unexpectedly — the bears were bewildered, confused. And very hungry. The animals suffered privations, and the result was not long in coming: the birth rate fell and the population decreased markedly — by some estimates, Big Yellowstone was less than 140 grizzly. Only for 1971 more than 40 bears were killed, and the victims fell down and “banded” animals. In General, the Yellowstone grizzly could die out completely, save the unfortunate tendency of ten years. But, fortunately, in 1975, according to the Law on endangered species, the grizzly bear in the 48 mainland States made the list of animals under threat of extinction. The hunt for him ceased, at least as legitimate entertainment.

“We spent a lot of time individually working with animals, particularly females — did everything to keep them alive,” says Gunter, who arrived in Yellowstone in 1983. Work, among other things, involves the prevention of conflicts between bears and people: experts asked visitors to refrain from feeding animals, but also to ensure that animals are not stealing their products. Finally made a purely practical measures, such as installed is not available for animals trash cans, began patrolling the campsites. In short, the idea was to keep people and grizzly at a respectful distance from each other and encourage the bears interest in natural foods.

And it worked! Alive was more than females, they bring more offspring. Increased the number of Grizzlies in the Park, and their habitat has grown, too: the bears began to notice where they have not seen for decades. In principle, the Grizzlies are difficult to quantify, but, according to the latest estimates, in the core of the ecosystem today has the 717 individuals. If we talk about the ecosystem as a whole, then, says Gunter, “we are surely closer to “thousands”. Based on these data and considering the opinions of experts (and those believe that Big Yellowstone today many bears as he can “to digest”), many biologists believe that the time has come to strike a grizzly from a long list of animals subject to the Law on endangered species.

Yellowstone today remains a reliable refuge for wild animals. The wolves came back. The grizzly bear population after a catastrophic “shallowing” in the 1970s, recovered — as the number of beavers. American bison that are on the brink of extinction, is now also safe, that’s the only breed they are very active — the population is already “overrun” and went beyond the reserve. Some efforts have been made to protect the migratory corridors of the American Belorukov.

Elk are found in abundance, but feel it is not so freely as in those decades when he didn’t have to fear wolves. Bald eagles also live not grieving.

First migration: a three-week calves, the elk leave the summer “residence” in the South-East of Yellowstone. Behind the does they were climbing a slope with a height of 1400 meters. A few hours ago, the herd overcame a water barrier — the river and the southern Shoshone.

In Yellowstone everyone and everything is interconnected. Wolves — Grizzlies: they compete for food, and those, and others prefer the venison. Nephrolepis pine — lobeda: this beetle destroys the trees; with the warming climate problem is compounded by the fact that the number of beetle is growing rapidly, and their range is expanding. American bison are directly dependent on livestock policy that can be traced through the disease brucellosis, probably brought to America with cattle, and the cattle were brought to Montana to allow bison hunting in Yellowstone. All this once again confirms the Yellowstone ecosystem — the complex “residential complex”, in which important interaction not only “tenants” but also physical factors, geological conditions, the vicissitudes of history, of biological processes. And any changes you spouting ricocheted in all communities, from animal to plant, from the predator to the prey, from one link of the food chain to another — are of great interest (and heated debate) scientists exploring the flora and fauna of Yellowstone. But what we must not forget: at any sudden movements always have side effects, generally unanticipated. Just one example: the return of wolves to Yellowstone Park has not solved all problems caused by the previous shooting of grey predators.

The Great Yellowstone ecosystem — the focus of many pain points, partly because here face very different expectations and interests. And this clash very distinctly highlights the simple truth that we should recognize the legitimate interests not only of the people living in the Park, or working, or hunting, or Rybachy, or walking in Hiking. This territory belongs to America — and around the world. In 2105 Yellowstone national Park visited by over four million people; the national Park Grand Teton over three million. Coming to such parks, people feel attached to important business. But those who are not indifferent to the fate of Yellowstone, I can not see new challenges facing the Park. All American national parks need better funding. From Congress for the operation and improvement of such areas received only a small fraction of the money most important initiatives — such as the project “Yellowstone wolf,” implemented by private funds, through organizations such as the Yellowstone Park Foundation. Not less money parks a need for political support for the implementation of unpopular ideas (and complicated solutions will probably have to take a lot — too much here is people, here and private vehicles denied entry). To address the most pressing and contentious issues of wildlife conservation — is first and foremost a problem grizzly bear, American bison and wolves, is we need consensus, not a fierce debate. The most loyal supporters of the parks needs to understand that righteous anger and intransigence will not help. Partners different subcommittees of the coordinating Committee of the Yellowstone a Large, state authority over Federal lands in the ecosystem, should be private groups. And together they will be able to take bold decisions in the interests of all. Climate change, as we see, hurting the Yellowstone — warming turns of longer duration the life cycles of insects, drought, and God knows what else, in such a situation it is necessary to do everything possible to keep available.

If we expect the Yellowstone grizzly best and fastest adaptation, apparently, is to change ourselves.

The comparison of two photos taken in Yellowstone national Park. The first photograph was taken by William Henry Jackson in 1871, and the second filmed by photographer Bradley Bonner the same survey point, but in our years.

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