I remember my first visit to the park more than 50 years ago. It was robust with ungulates — elk, deer, antelope and bison.
I’ve made three trips since the late 1990s and each time have viewed fewer of these animals. About four years ago the only elk (about 50 head) we saw were in the town of Mammoth Hot Springs. During our trip this summer we saw some bison, no bears or antelope, and only two bull elk. Since the introduction of wolves in the 1990s, it is vividly clear that they have taken a toll, especially on the once magnificence herds of elk which were estimated at around 18,000 head before wolf reintroduction. The current population is around 2,800 head and their future existence is now unknown because the calf survivable ratio is so low that sustaining the parks’ northern elk herd is questionable.
My four grandchildren were very excited to see herds of elk but were extremely disappointed not to see them. The wolf lovers can be blamed for ruining one of the parks’ main wildlife attractions. I feel sorry for the future generations that will not have the grand memories of the elk that I have.