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Gray Wolf population in Yellowstone boosting diet of Grizzly Bears

by Take Two®

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Two young wolves hide behind a tree on April 26, 2011. INGO WAGNER/AFP/Getty Images

Back in June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list. They say wolf populations have stabilized to the point that they no longer need protection.

Gray wolves were all but eradicated from most parts of the country by the mid-twentieth century. They were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in 1995, and while wolves in the Northern Rockies region were removed from the endangered species list last year,  they remain protected within the park.

Now, researchers are finding their presence there is having a surprising effect. In a roundabout way, the wolves of Yellowstone are giving a boost to the diets of Grizzly Bears. No, they're not eating them, but their food chains are related. 

Here to make the link is Oregon State Professor Bill Ripple, who just published a study on this in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

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