The controversial reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 caused reactions ranging from delight to fear and anger. At the next Draper Museum of Natural History Lunchtime Expedition, Dr. Douglas W. Smith, a top wolf expert and head of Yellowstone’s Gray Wolf Restoration Project, discusses wolf biology and history as well as the future of wolf conservation and management in the western United States.
The free lecture, part of the Draper Museum’s popular monthly Lunchtime Expedition series, is Thursday, August 2 at 12:15 p.m. in the Buffalo Bill Historical Center’s Coe Auditorium.
Seventeen years after the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, the population in Yellowstone National Park has stabilized and decreased as predicted by population ecologists. Still, more than 400 wolves reside in the Greater Yellowstone region. The population outside the park continues to slowly increase, prompting aggressive management plans by surrounding states.
Amidst discussion about the controversy that rages around wolves and their impact on game herds and livestock, Smith also delves into the lessons the experiment in wolf reintroduction can teach us about the complexity of ecological relationships and the importance of human dimensions in wildlife conservation and management.
Smith has studied wolves for more than 30 years and is currently project leader for the Gray Wolf Restoration Project in Yellowstone National Park. Involved since its inception, he worked as the project’s biologist from 1994 – 1997. He previously worked with wolves on Lake Superior’s Isle Royale from 1979 to 1992, and in Minnesota in 1983. He received his Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology from the University of Idaho, a Master of Science degree in Biology from Michigan Technological University, and earned his doctorate in Evolutionary Biology, Ecology, and Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno.
The Draper Museum’s popular Lunchtime Expedition natural history lecture series takes place the first Thursday of each month and is always free to the public. The Center’s Eatery serves a lunch special in conjunction with each presentation for those who wish to eat before or after the program. Click here for more information on the series and other natural history programming.
Since 1917, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West has been committed to the greatness and growth of the American West, keeping western experiences alive. The Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, weaves the varied threads of the western experience—history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms, and the nature and science of Yellowstone—into the rich panorama that is the American West.