National Geographic May 2016, Part 3

Living with the Wild, by David Quammen, photographs by various photographers

In this final installment of Quammen’s article about Yellowstone, he talks about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. He discusses where the term came from, the area it relates to, and how the park itself is impacted by things that happen in the “greater ecosystem” in general. You see, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is not just the park itself, but the surrounding area.

One of the biggest problems is that, well, there are people in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and people have an impact everywhere they go. Most notably, once an animal leaves the park itself, it becomes potential prey for human hunters. And since the park is not fenced off, animals are entering and leaving the park all the time.

Additionally, some of the bison can carry brucellosis, a disease that can be transmitted to cattle and that causes cows to miscarry their calves. No cases of brucellosis being transmitted to cattle from Yellowstone bison have been found yet, but the potential is there, which causes conflicts between ranchers and the park.

The copy of the issue that I have (and likely the same layout that everyone got) suddenly stops in the middle of a sentence on page 137. We go on to some other material for four pages, and then we pick up where we left off on page 142. There is no “(continued on page 142)” or anything.

Quammen has no answers to the questions about what will happen to Yellowstone in the future. One of the people he speaks with, Dave Hallac, former chief of the Yellowstone Center for Resources, says that Yellowstone is facing a “creeping crisis”and doesn’t hold out much hope for the park. Is Hallac right? The scientists involved with Yellowstone are hoping they can forestall the crisis and save the park.

Other Material in this Part of the Issue

Voices: Bill Hoppe (Rancher, Wolf-Release Critic)

Voices: Leo Teton (Member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Fort Hall Reservation, Idaho)

Dance of the Bison and Elk, a pictorial

Land of the People, another pictorial

Voices: Becky Weed (Rancher, Belgrade, Montana)

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