Shades of Gray, Wolf-Style
“…the best wolf habitat resides in the human heart. You have to leave a little space for them to live.” – Ed Bangs (Former Wolf Recovery Coordinator U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Yellowstone: The “little space” wolves were given in 1995 and 1996 when the federal government gave the green light to return wolves to portions of their native range in the West. The reintroduction of gray wolves to our first national park has been described as a near-miracle, having occurred at one of those rare moments when stars align in the political sky. A wildlife conservation effort with such positive environmental impact (and ongoing controversy) will likely go unmatched for a long time. But with the support of the American public almost two decades ago, a new chapter in Yellowstone’s history began, with a homecoming that changed the Park.
Over the past decade and a half, wolves have been a hot topic in the northern Rockies. Although they alone have drawn an abundance of tourists to Yellowstone, National Parks Service estimates that wolf watchers bring $35M tourism dollars to the greater Yellowstone area annually, many communities are extremely opposed to having this keystone species in their midst. The polarized debate surrounding wolf management , politics, and the search for a middle ground is the subject of a new investigative TV special Shades of Gray: Living with Wolves, produced by Link TV’s environmental news magazine Earth Focus