Food For All The Animals

The wolves in Yellowstone National Park and the pack's primary food source, elk, continue to support the park's scavenger community. Wolves are so important to the survival of scavengers that scientists continue to wonder what the scavengers did until the wolves were reintroduced to the park a decade ago. The Food for the Masses project is a broad-scaled effort designed to quantify the diversity and abundance of species that rely on wolf kills in the park. These include the black bear and grizzly bear, bald eagle, golden eagle, raven, magpie, coyote and fox. Scientists have learned that wolves mediate the flow of food by controlling the timing and quantity of the hunt. The pack contributes significantly to the biodiversity of the region. Food for the Masses is funded through the Yellowstone Park Foundation (www.ypf.org) in cooperation with Canon U.S.A. The Eyes on Yellowstone program is made possible by Canon; it provides funding and digital technology to support an array of park resource management and education programs. Summer scavenging is much less understood than that of winter. New research is documenting summer activities and looking at the diverse and abundant insect community that depends on summer feeding. "We are looking at many aspects of the wolf ecology," said Tom Oliff, chief of natural resources. "We are researching food diversity, consumption rates for wolves and scavengers and the behavioral interactions between wolves and the scavengers."