Monday, May 21, 2012

Wild at Heart: The Gray Wolf

Over the next week, I will be bringing you previews of the work that will be exhibited at May 26th's "Wild at Heart: Keep Wildlife in the Wild," the endangered species benefit that Andrew Hosner and I are co-curating at Thinkspace. 20% of the proceeds of the show will go to Born Free USA to help threatened wildlife. Hope to see you there!

Mary Iverson "OR-7, Capitol Reef"

The Gray Wolf or Timber Wolf was once one of the most widely distributed of all mammals. They have adapted to climates as disparate as deserts, forests, mountains and the Arctic tundra. As humans simultaneously took over wolf habitat, filled it with livestock, and depleted the staples of the wolf's traditional diet — deer, elk, caribou, and bison — the wolf turned to sheep and cattle to supplement its diet. By the beginning of the 20th century, retaliatory hunting by settlers had rendered wolves practically extinct in the continental United States.

In 1995 and 1996, 21 wolves from British Columbia were captured and reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, where they had been extirpated by 1926, eliminated by government predator control programs. Without its apex predator, the ecological balance of the park had run out of control, with elk and coyote populations exploding to the detriment of many other species of flora and fauna. Since the wolves have become reestablished, decreased pressure from elk and coyotes has resulted in the populations of beavers, foxes and many smaller plant and animal species bouncing back.

Aron Wiesenfeld "Tracks"

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