As beaver dams disappeared, pond and wetland habitats disappeared and heavy stream erosion occurred. Many species that depended on these aquatic habitats were affected.
Earth Justice has created these lovely postcards to explain how Wolves keep the balance in Yellowstone. (No word yet on when they will be doing a BEAVERS KEEP THE BALANCE. PERIOD set), but we should be thankful anyway. Earth Justice tends to like sexy, photogenic animals that will look noble for the camera and set the co-eds pulses fluttering, BUT beavers are the lumpy underdog heroes of so many ecological stories – I say they deserve more respect!
Wolves are the apex predator in Yellowstone. When they were exterminated from the park, the ecosystem suffered from the ripple effects.
Without natural predators like wolves, elk populations grew to unsustainable levels. Much of the trees and vegetation were overgrazed, leaving beavers with nothing to build dams out of.
After wolves were reintroduced in 1995, the elk populations have dropped, leaving beavers more wood to build their dams. Insects, fish, and songbirds that depend on the wetlands and ponds created by the beaver dams are now thriving.
Did you ever have a partner that in elementary school with whom you were supposed to be working on that oral book report – and they flashed a big toothy smile and everyone loved them because they were cute and great at kickball but all they did was bring lifesavers for the entire class during your presentation, while you read the book, wrote the speech, drew the posters, carried it all to class and made everything happen? And the teacher gave you BOTH an A?