Talk:History of wolves in Yellowstone

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Draft article reorganization[edit]

Propose the article be reorganized along the lines of the following:

The History of wolves in Yellowstone is characterized by three phases: 1872-1926 the Extirpation phase; 1926-1995 the Absence phase; and 1995-present the Re-introduction phase. Each phase of this history cronicles different ecological impacts on the park, evolving scientific and cultural understanding (or biases) of the Gray Wolf, and evolving government and park administration attitudes and programs surrounding the Gray Wolf and its relationship to the park's purpose.

Extirpation Phase (1870-1926)[edit]

Re-introduction Phase (1995-present)[edit]

Additionally, the addition of a broader range of secondary sources will create a more balanced article:

  • Haines, Aubrey L. (1977). The Yellowstone Story-A History of Our First National Park. Yellowstone National Park, WY: Yellowstone Library and Museum Association. 
  • Chase, Alton (1986). Playing God in Yellowstone-The Destruction of America's First National Park. Boston, MA: The Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 0871130254. 
  • Bartlett, Richard (1985). Yellowstone: A Wilderness Besieged. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0816510989. 
  • Schullery, Paul (1997). Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and Wonder in the Last Wilderness. Boston: Hougton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395841747. 
  • Bartlett, Richard A. (1974). Nature's Yellowstone. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. 

--Mike Cline (talk) 12:53, 17 November 2009 (UTC)


I think a necessary addition to this article would be the criticism levelled against the reintroduction by some biologists that the wolves used for the reintroduction were not of the same stock as the original Yellowstone wolves. I shall delve further into this and find appropriate sources.Mariomassone (talk) 01:17, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Concur, looking forward to seeing the references.--Mike Cline (talk) 23:09, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Original research in the lead paragraph[edit]

I would like to challenge the leading statement in the lead paragraph which reads as follows:

"The History of wolves in Yellowstone is characterized by three phases: the Extirpation phase (1872–1926); the Absence phase (1926–1995); and the Re-introduction phase (1995–present)."

Could an editor provide a verbatim quote of the sources that actually say this? --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 21:24, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Origin of the Lead[edit]

In an attempt to explain the origin of the lead sentence I offer the following.

  • WP:LEAD does not require a verbatim quote from a source of what the lead says. The lead should define the topic and summarize the body of the article with appropriate weight.
  • WP:V says: All material in Wikipedia articles must be attributable to a reliable published source to show that it is not original research, but in practice not everything need actually be attributed.
  • WP:NOR says: The term "original research" refers to material—such as facts, allegations, ideas, and stories—not already published by reliable sources.
    • WP:SYN says: Do not combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources. (Explicit does not mean literal)

Now, first and foremost this is a history article which attempts to summarize the history of Wolves (as a species) in Yellowstone National Park. It is a history that is documented in a wide variety of sources to include general park histories, specific wolf histories, regional wolf histories, peer reviewed journals, scientific and government publications. Typically histories are presented chronologically, and the period method is a common method of doing so. [1]

So let’s analyze the request, allegation and the facts.

  • The request: a verbatim quote (I assume from a single source) re the lead sentence. Since the guideline on leads does not require that, it is not forthcoming. The allegation: The lead sentence is Original Research.
  • The facts:
    • Yellowstone National Park was created in March 1, 1872 (countless sources)
    • Between the period 1872-1926, wolves in the Rockies were systematically killed and extirpated from the region, including Yellowstone (Schullery, and others)
    • Wolves were extirpated from Yellowstone National Park by 1926 (Haines, Schullery, Chase, Bartlett, others)
    • Wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone in January 1995 (Schullery, and dozens of other sources)
    • Wolves were not present (or resident) in Yellowstone from 1926-1995 (ie. Absent) (Schullery, and dozens of other sources)
    • The present – well the present is the present and as of this writing there is ample evidence that there are still wolves in Yellowstone. (Yellowstone website)

All these facts are adequately supported by reliable sources in the body of the article. Thus using an accepted form of historical presentation, three logical periods were summarized—Extirpation (1872-1926), Absence (1926-1995) and Reintroduction (1996-present). Although no single source labels these periods exactly as they are labeled in the lead sentence, all the comprehensive historical sources confirm the dates and condition of wolves during those dates, as well as generally discuss the wolves in chapters and periods closely paralleling these periods. Everything in the lead sentence is factual and supported by multiple sources, especially the beginning and ending dates of each period. The sentence draws no new conclusion. Both the period labels—Extirpation and Reintroduction are widely used in the sources in connection with the time period associated with them. The period label Absence may not have been used literally in connection with the period 1926-1995, but ample sources say wolves were not present in Yellowstone during that period and the word Absence is a concise prose way of saying they were not there which is a fact supported by multiple sources.

So in conclusion, it is the opinion of this editor that the lead is not Original Research as all the facts and the arrangement of those facts is supported by reliable sources. There is no synthesis (in a WP:SYN context) as no new conclusion not supported by sources is drawn. As for the facts, they are indisputable and fully comply with WP:V.

The question I have is to what end this request has been made. Specifically, it would be useful to know what facts in the lead the requestor believes are not attributable to a reliable source, and if synthesis is the issue, what new conclusion is not supported by reliable sources. The lead can easily be rewritten to remove any supported facts or unsupported conclusions, once they are identified. The lead could easily read: The History of wolves in Yellowstone National Park beings in 1872 and continues to the present day. From 1872–1926 gray wolves were extirpated from Yellowstone. Wolves were absent from Yellowstone during the period 1926–1995. In January 1995 they were reintroduced into the park where they thrive today.

This lead is factual, supported by reliable sources and draws no unsupportable conclusions. None of the facts presented in the current lead are any different from the facts presented in this lead. Removing the period labels changes nothing that follows. Is this now a better lead? Maybe. Is it original research? No.

There is a bit of a postscript to this discussion. The editor, who originally created this article, did so by parroting (nearly a copyvio) of a very POV environmentally oriented website. The article was very POV, most of the assertions were unsupported by reliable sources and for the most part, it was a rant against those who were against the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone. I salvaged the article along with a few other editors, taking a scholarly and balanced approach to the history of a controversial subject—Wolves in Yellowstone. The sources used by myself and other editors contributing to this article are impeccable and for the most part written by the pre-eminent scholars and scientists associated with Yellowstone. Both Haines and Schullery were official park historians. Bartlett and Chase are pre-eminent critics of the National Park Service and its management practices. The contemporary scientists and government wolf specialists cited are leaders in the field of wolf management. There is still work to be done, but this article is (I think) representative of how a controversial subject can be presented in a completely encyclopedic and neutral way.--Mike Cline (talk) 02:32, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

So to be blunt, the lead is not supported directly by any particular source, or in other words, it is a synthesis. Is that what you are saying? If so, it should be got rid of and sourced content put in its place. I still would like a citation from the original source to be given here, so we can decide how close the source is the the lede as it is written. I don't want to have this discussion with information given indirectly, I want to see the original source, not a summary that somehow "approximates" what is written. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 02:07, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't think the lead sentence in a WP article needs a single source, and only a single source. Additionally, there are ample citations already in the article to satisfy WP:V. You should review those references to see if indeed as you aledged I have drawn a conclusion unsupported by sources or I am stating facts unsupported by sources. It is my contention that the facts in the lead and any actual or implied conclusion from those facts is supported by reliable sources. If there is a specific conclusion or fact that you believe needs a specific citation, please identify it with the {{fact}} tag and I am confident a citation will be forthcoming. If you are really serious about learning more about Yellowstone and its wolf history, I really would commend Schullery's wolf history and Haines park history. The Chase and Bartlett works are also very instructive. If you are unable to locate them in your local library, I will be happy to send you copies with payment of the cover price and postage. I don't think WP:SOURCEACCESS requires me, or any other editor for that matter, to provide you copies of these scholarly sources on my shilling.--Mike Cline (talk) 03:22, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
I will be adding the following citation as soon I can review this new work: Robert E. Garrott, P.J. White, G.R. Watson, eds. (2009). The Ecology of Large Mammals in Central Yellowstone-Sixteen years of integrated field studies. San Diego, California: Academic Press. ISBN 9780123741745. . Although not directly related to the lead sentence, it will provide some very contemporary insights into the impacts of the wolf reintroduction and a great addition to this history.--Mike Cline (talk) 03:22, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
In fairness Mike, the lead sentence needs a single source. What you are describing is synthesis, pure and simple. The sentence contains strong statements of fact and opinion - you just can't imply stuff that has never been written.
To be honest, when I read that there was an Extirpation phase, I thought to myself "here is an article that is very well sourced, or its a pile of made up crap".
I think you have to be honest, and admit it is a synthesis and get rid of it. Lets face it, all this namby-pamby stuff about the sources being "not directly related to the lead sentence" is bullshit of the first order. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:51, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
It can be resolved if you do as I have originally requested: provide a verbatim quote of the sources that actually say what is in the leading paragraph. So far we have lots of your opinions, but no citations which can resolve this dispute quickly and without lots of needless debate. Show the sources, please! --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:25, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Mike asked me to take a look. For the general question, the lead normally should be a summary of the article as a whole. I can't see how it needs a source specifically, unless the material in it is not supported by the text of the article and sourced there. Things need be sourced, but they only be sourced once. If the phases are referred to five times in the article, need they be sourced every time>? That's the sort of hyper-pedantic writing that is fashionable in research-level works in some specialized fields of academe, I've seen it in history in particular,especially from European publishers; it is wholly inappropriate in any other context, most certainly in a general encyclopedia. Normally we source at the first occurrence. Whether we should call the first occurrence the first one in the main text itself or in the article as a while including the introduction is hair-splitting, as long as it is sourced clearly. I have sometimes done it one way here, sometimes another, as with most similar matters of style. However, for this specific point, I think it is also usual to word lede paragraphs so they do not contain material that seems over-specific--I think it would therefore be better not to use capitals, and find a wording that makes it clear that it is a routine generalization, not a specific hypothesis. I have made what I think some desirable changes.
Also in general, a printed book is an excellent source, as long as it is available in libraries . In all the main English-speaking countries, any user can ask for and get a borrowed copy of essentially any printed book, though it may take a while. (When working as a librarian, I've been accustomed to providing even the most esoteric books to even small public libraries; it's pure routine.) There is an exception in some cases: archival material, or unusual material in only 2 or 3 libraries, is not usually accepted here as a sole source. If a cite from a printed book is challenged in good faith, the editor who inserted it is expected to supply an exact quotation of the key portion of it. If the accuracy of the quotation is challenged, the person challenging it usually needs to obtain some evidence of it being a reasonable challenge, it which case one or more the tens of thousands of active editors will be able to check it. But it is not unusual to scan a page or so and send it, though I've mainly seen this done here for hot-button political issues. DGG ( talk ) 01:22, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

The truth of the matter is that even in Featured Articles, introductions oftentimes are somewhat scanty on references...the introductions simply provide an overview of what the article is about. I have more to write about this shortly.--MONGO 00:29, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

If an introduction is unsourced, it can always be cleaned up and improved with coverage that is refereced, and this is what we should be working towards, even if it is only an ideal. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 02:01, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

The accuracy of the quotation is being challenged[edit]

I have asked for sources that support this leading paragraph, but all that is being put on these talk pages so far is more unsubstantiated opinion and hearsay. Lets have a look at the article and its sources, directly and in detail. The leading paragraph reads as follows:

The history of wolves in Yellowstone is characterized by three phases: the extirpation phase (1872–1926); the absence phase (1926–1995); and the re-introduction phase (1995–present).[1][2] Each phase of this history chronicles different ecological impacts on the park (and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem), evolving scientific and cultural understanding (or biases) of the Gray Wolf, and evolving government and park administration attitudes and programs surrounding the Gray Wolf and its relationship to the park's purpose.


  1. ^ Haines, Aubrey L. (1996). The Yellowstone Story—A History of Our First National Park. II. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado. ISBN 0870813919. 
  2. ^ Weaver, John (1996). "The Wolves of Yellowstone". In Schullery, Paul. The Yellowstone Wolf—A Guide and Sourcebook. Worland, WY: High Plains Publishing. pp. 3–33. ISBN 1881019136. 

The problem I have with the first reference is that this is highly unlikely to be the source for lead paragraph. I have looked online, and as far as I can see, there is only one reference to wolves in the entire book, on page 97. If the index is to be believed, this book does not contain much information about wolves, let alone the "History of wolves in Yellowstone", or anything to support the lead paragraph. However, if there is anything relevant to this discussion contained in this book, then please cite it here so we can have a look.

I have looked through the second reference myself (pages 3-33 of Weaver[2]) and their is nothing to support the leading paragraph. Just to give you an idea by what I mean, the main body of the article (ignoring the appendicies) is comprised of the following sections :

  • Introduction
  • Study Area
  • Methods
  • The Yellowstone Wolf
  • Population History
    • Prior to 1914
    • 1914-1926
    • 1927-1966
  • Population status
  • Ecology
  • Discussion
  • Management Recommendations

There is no mention of the history being divided into three phases, and in particular; there is no evidence to suggest that a programme of "extirpation" took place starting in 1872 (when the National Park was established); and it does not even mention any activity in 1995. Furthermore, the term extirpation is not used in Weaver's article at all, and in particular, nowhere in this book is the term "extirpation" used in relation to the time frame 1872–1926; in fact there are statements in this source that actually suggest that the deliberate killing of wolves to control their population did not take place until 1914.

If the opening paragraph is a synthesis, its not clear which sources they bring together. More than likely the lead paragraph is original research because the statements of fact and opinion it contains cannot be supported by any sources. It was probably written by some editor who thought they knew what they were writing about, and was not aware of Wikipedia's policy on original research.

I do not accept that this is an appropriate lead for this article, and I think Mike Cline's addition of bogus references, and a refusal to respond to my request, however well intentioned, is actually a hindrance to improving this article. I don't accept that this type of original research is acceptable, particularly in view of the fact that this article topic has such a rich selection of sources from which it is possible to write decent, verifiable content. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 02:42, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

You are a troll, Gavin. Unless you can show that a single word is inaccurate, you have no business on this talk page. I explicitly asked you not to attack Mike on your user page and you did it anyway. Viriditas (talk) 09:06, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
In an attempt to defend the lead sentence with a single source, I offer this: [3]. Now admittedly this source is not used in the article, but merely to demonstrate that the facts, label and structure in the lead sentence are not original reaseach.

The wolves are back, and for the first time in more than 50 years, young aspen trees are growing again in the northern range of Yellowstone National Park. The findings of a new study, just published in Biological Conservation, show that a process called "the ecology of fear" is at work, a balance has been restored to an important natural ecosystem, and aspen trees are surviving elk browsing for the first time in decades. The research, done by forestry researchers at Oregon State University, supports theories about "trophic cascades" of ecological damage that can be caused when key predators -- in this case, wolves -- are removed from an ecosystem, and show that recovery is possible when the predators are returned. The results are especially encouraging for the health of America's first national park, but may also have implications for other areas of the West and other important predators. After an absence of 70 years, wolves were re-introduced to Yellowstone Park in 1995, and elk populations began a steady decline, cut in half over the past decade. Also, the presence of a natural predator appears to have altered the behavior of the remaining elk, which in their fear of wolves tend to avoid browsing in certain areas where they feel most vulnerable. The two factors together have caused a significant reduction in elk browsing on young aspen shoots, allowing them to survive to heights where some are now above the animal browsing level. "This is really exciting, and it's great news for Yellowstone," said William Ripple, a professor in the OSU College of Forestry. "We've seen some recovery of willows and cottonwood, but this is the first time we can document significant aspen growth, a tree species in decline all over the West. We've waited a long time to see this, but now we're optimistic that things may be on the right track." The study found significant numbers of aspen, especially in streamside "riparian" zones, that have grown from tiny shoots in the past decade to heights of more than seven feet -- a key point in their long-term survival, placing their crowns above the height easily browsed by elk and other animals. Tree growth in some stands has been particularly apparent just in the past 4-5 years. The long-term decline, to the point of localized extinctions, of aspen and cottonwood trees in Yellowstone National Park dates to the extirpation of the last known wolf packs in the 1920s. Prior to the re-introduction of wolves, scientists found there were many small sprouting shoots of these important tree species, and numbers of large trees 70 years old or more -- but practically nothing in between. High populations of grazing ungulates, primarily elk, had grazed on the small tree shoots at leisure and with little fear of attack. But the ecological damage, researchers say, went far beyond just trees. The loss of trees and shrubs opened the door to significant stream erosion. Beaver dams declined. Food webs broke down, and the chain of effects rippled through birds, insects, fish and other plant and animal species. Aspen, a beautiful hardwood tree with golden fall color, a key to ecosystem biodiversity and a hallmark feature of mountain areas across the West, has been the focus of concern. Unlike willows, aspen are more easily killed or suppressed by browsing and have been the slowest to show any recovery. In some areas of the West, up to 90 percent of the aspen have disappeared. "When I first looked at these degraded ecosystems in the mid-1990s in Yellowstone, I had doubts we would ever be able to bring the aspen back," said Robert Beschta, a professor emeritus of forestry at OSU and co-author on the study. "There were so many elk, and the stream ecosystems were in such poor shape. The level of recovery we're seeing is very encouraging." The OSU researchers say they believe there are two forces at work -- both the lower populations of elk, and their changed behavior due to fear of wolves -- but it's difficult to determine exactly which force is the most significant. Of note, they say, is that elk populations now are actually higher than they were in the mid-1960s, when aspen trees were still in significant decline. The major change from that period of time is the presence of wolves. The effect of behavioral changes "may be equal to or even greater than" lower elk population levels in allowing tree survival, the researchers said in their report.

— Science Daily, July 31, 2007
The bolding is mine to highlight the key elements. The three labels: extirpation, absence and reintroduction are fully supported by this quote in the exact context used in the lead. Assuming the dates of the creation of Yellowstone (March 1872), reintroduction (January 1995) and the present are not in dispute. The only specific date missing here is 1926 which is supported elsewhere. The phase extirpation of the last known wolf packs in the 1920s. is consistent with the 1926 date use in the lead. I got there through other sources, but drew no new, unsupportable conclusions doing so.--Mike Cline (talk) 13:07, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
I think Viriditas' comments are correct, and I have overstepped the mark. My whole hearted apologies to Mike for my outburst.
The current approach of trying to find sources to fit the lead is still the wrong way to improve this article. The relationship between the leading paragraphs and the various sources cited and those that are being proposed are too remote to be credible, but more to the point, this approach is unnecessary given the abundance of sources available in print (cited by Mike), as well as on line (e.g. Weaver, cited above). In particular, the passing mentions of the term "extirpation" is problematical: whilst it is a term that can be applied to the wolves in Yellowstone, it is such an unusual turn of phrase that only better quality coverage can justify its use, because there is no reason to use such a term that requires a definition when a simpler one that does not and is more widely used (such as control) will do.
Standing back from the detail for a moment, I think this article carries two burdens: it has a grandiose title that is not supported by sufficient sources to provide a working definition for its subject matter and the leading paragraph needs to be rewritten using sources that are that are directly related to the topic of the article, and that directly support the material as presented.
  1. Firstly, this article needs a simpler title. Trying to link the term "history" to "wolves in Yellowstone" will be tricky, and searching for decent coverage that links the two terms in a significant way will be onerous. There may be some high quality coverage out there, but so far I have only seen mentions in passing of the term "history" in the sources. So why bother? Why not rename this article "Wolves in Yellowstone" which is really what this article is about?
  2. Secondly, why not rewrite the lead so that it does not restrict the scope of the article, by getting rid of the made up phases?
To this end, I propose using the following lede for the article (taken from Weaver, p. 26-27[4]]):
Wolves in Yelowstone inhabited the area in unknown densities when the park was first established in 1872, but were the subject of early exploitation (1870's) and later control (1914-1926). After wolf control ceased in 1926, very few wolves were reported; records to not indicate that any resident wolf packs persisted after the mid-1930's.
There is a lot more could be said, citing only Weaver. I propose we make these changes, rather than struggling with the unsatisfactory situation that currently exists. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:20, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, I think your comments about Weaver are worth considering, but what you've said about the article title and the use of the term "extirpation" are not. Beyond the article title dispute from the project page, I'm not sure what your interest is here. I looked at your contribs and could not determine the last time you actually wrote or contributed to an article. However, if your passion is to help improve the article, I would encourage you to try and take your Weaver proposal, which sounds reasonable, and merge it with the work Mike is doing in the section below this one. The sooner you can work with Mike, rather than against him, the easier it will be to work with each other across the board. But, continuing to focus on the article title (without any proposed alternative) and arguing about the use of one of the most common words related to this topic, should stop. Viriditas (talk) 22:31, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
That is just your opinion, which is just not supported by the sources. The fact is, the term "extirpation phase" is not supported by any source, and none of the sources support the timeframe (1872–1926). Why should discussion of the article title stop? None of the sources support it with anything other than trivial mentions. Again, if you have anything more than hot air to support your opinions, put them forward. The sooner you can work with the sources, the sooner you can resolve the issues with this article. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 00:48, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree that reliable references should be provided, but generally even in Featured Articles, introductions generally only provide a summary of the article. In a nutshell, the 1872 to 1926 issue may have something to do with the fact that 1872 is when Yellowstone was designated a National Park and 1926 is supposedly the last year a wolf was killed in Yellowstone. There may have been undocumented wolf killings after that and there surely were wolves killed in Yellowstone before it was set aside for protection.--MONGO 01:12, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Which means that any issues have to do with wording, scope, and prose, and nothing to do with OR. Reliable sources are in the article, and both the title and the use of the term "extirpation" are well established. If Gavin had a leg to stand on, he would propose an alternate title and recommend the use of a different word. He can't, because he's just making this up as he goes along. Viriditas (talk) 01:21, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It seems we are making progress here and Extirpation is the sticking point. Interestingly, Gavin believes: "extirpation" is problematical: whilst it is a term that can be applied to the wolves in Yellowstone, it is such an unusual turn of phrase that only better quality coverage can justify its use, because there is no reason to use such a term that requires a definition when a simpler one that does not and is more widely used (such as control) will do.. The flaw in this opinion, is that nothing is simpler than the construct of extirpation. WP has an article on it, and that article is linked to 100s of other articles. It is a precise term, unambiguous, and leaving no doubt as to its meaning. That it can be applied to the chronology of wolves in yellowstone is undisputable. This is just one such source River channel dynamics following extirpation of wolves in northwestern Yellowstone National Park, USA that relates the construct of Extirpation to wolves in Yellowstone. Although the number of sources available to support this construct is not infinite, the number of sources that would offer an alternate interpretation are next to zero. If we are quibling over the dates during which extirpation occured, OK, we can go with the scientific consensus (1926) or another date if the predominant number of sources favor a different date. If we are quibling over whether or not official and unofficial predator control and eradication programs contributed to the extirpation of wolves in Yellowstone, I don't think anyone will say the wolves left town on their own accord. Extirpation is a condition and as of 1926, sources say wolves were extirpated from Yellowstone. This is a history article. It describes, in some semblance of chronology the historical events related to and conditions of wolves as a species in Yellowstone National Park from its creation (1872) to the present. The term Extirpation is a valid, and well sourced term, describing the condition of wolves in Yellowstone as of 1926. It may be an unusual turn of phrase in Middlesex but in the world of Yellowstone, Wolf management and endangered species, there is nothing unusual about it.--Mike Cline (talk) 01:28, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

This link available here from a reliable source states the following.....

  • "Further west, in Yellowstone National Park, wolf baiting and hunting had become a lucrative profession. Paul Schullery, in his guidebook to Yellowstone wolves (The Yellowstone Wolf: A Guide & Sourcebook), describes the profession and the devastating affect it had on the Yellowstone wolf population: “At least as early as 1877, ungulate carcasses in the park were poisoned with strychnine by free-lance ‘wolfers’ for ‘wolf or wolverine bait.’ By 1880, [Yellowstone National Park] Superintendent [Philetus] Norris stated in his annual report that ‘…the value of their [wolves and coyotes] hides and their easy slaughter with strychnine-poisoned carcasses have nearly led to their extermination."
  • See the section on Government-Sanctioned Wolf Extermination Programs...there it makes it pretty clear that none other than the precurser to the modern US Fish and Wildlife Service, known then as the Bureau of Biological Survey in 1906 "became a wolf-extermination unit" aka extirpation.--MONGO 01:30, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

See also the Wikipedia article on Local extinction...--MONGO 01:45, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

I see the offending OR has been removed. Good job. Well done. About time. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 01:53, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Improving the lead section[edit]

The article is currently at 36,018 bytes, and the lead could use a major expansion. Please help. Viriditas (talk) 21:44, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Wikipedia:LEAD#First_sentence. Does the title need to be in bold? \
    • Instead of reiterating the title and opening with "The history of wolves in Yellowstone is characterized by three phases", think about introducing the reader to the wolves and the park and immediately explaining their importance. This draws the reader in and holds their attention. Why should the reader care about the history of the wolves? You want to give the reader a reason to keep reading and to tell them right away what they can expect. Although I hesitate to say "paint them a picture", that's really what you want to do. Think visually. It might help to start with geography, and briefly describe the range and ecosystem before 1872; Then, talk about the role of human influence, the establishment of the park, and come back to the phases without naming them as such, but pointing to the most important events within each phase instead. In this way, you can established a foundation for an historical narrative describing the extirpation, absence, and re-introduction of the wolves.
  • It's not clear why the word "biases" is in the lead.
    • Would this be a better lead? --Mike Cline (talk) 14:13, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
      • When Yellowstone National Park was created in March 1872, sustainable Gray wolf populations were already in decline in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. However, the creation of the national park did not provide protection for wolves or other predators. Government predator control programs in the first decades of the 1900s essentially eliminated the gray wolf from Yellowstone. The last wolves were killed in Yellowstone in 1926. Although sporadic reports of wolves occurred, scientists confirmed that sustainable wolf populations had been extirpated and were absent from Yellowstone during the mid 1900s. Starting in the 1940s, park managers, biologists, conservationists and environmentalists began what would ultimately turn into a campaign to reintroduce the gray wolf into Yellowstone National Park. When the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was passed, the road to legal reintroduction was clear. Although not without controversy, in January 1995 the first reintroduction of gray wolves into Yellowstone occurred in the Lamar Valley. The History of wolves in Yellowstone chronicles these periods of extirpation, absence and reintroduction, more importantly, how the reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone was not without controversy or surprises for scientists, governments or park managers.
I've added this to the lead section with minor modifications. Please continue to expand and work on it at your convenience. Viriditas (talk) 01:30, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Another paragraph is needed to explain the primary reasons behind reintroduction, which are very important. This paragraph should also mention the major objections from ranchers, etc. Viriditas (talk) 03:15, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I am not sure I understand why you are adding unsourced content to the lead, when this topic is so well sourced. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 06:11, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, you are still having problems telling the difference between article expansion and adding unsourced content. I think if you spent more time on building articles and less on policy debate, this problem would disappear. Viriditas (talk) 19:25, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

A myth?[edit]

See "Is the Wolf a Real American Hero?" opinion in The New York Times by Arthur Middleton March 9, 2014 User:Fred Bauder Talk 09:02, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

"This story — that wolves fixed a broken Yellowstone by killing and frightening elk — is one of ecology’s most famous. It’s the classic example of what’s called a “trophic cascade,” and has appeared in textbooks, on National Geographic centerfolds and in this newspaper. Americans may know this story better than any other from ecology, and its grip on our imagination is one of the field’s proudest contributions to wildlife conservation. But there is a problem with the story: It’s not true." User:Fred Bauder Talk 09:02, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

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