Of wolves and rivers

In this lovely video by Sustainable Man with commentary by George Monbiot, Monbiot describes how the reintroduction of wolves led to a swell of changes in the fauna, habitat and physical geography of Yellowstone National Park – an elegant and articulate description of trophic cascades and keystone species, all with gorgeous footage of the park, somewhere I am dying to go.

There has been talk of re-introducing wolves in Scotland – really a topic for another blogpost – and this video really made me consider the sorts of changes that process would result in. My thoughts come off the back of a news article I read recently about how reintroducing beavers could help to mitigate floods – something that, if you’ve been in the UK over the last two months, you’ll know is now very much in the mainframe (floods, not beavers… unfortunately). 

Has anyone read Monbiot’s book, “Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding”? This video puts it on top of my “to-read” list…

Wild nature on the doorstep

I’d be willing to bet that you would never guess where this camera trap photograph was taken. Like me, you might hazard a guess that’s it’s a North American canid – those really in the know will recognise the wily coyote – and have visions that this patch of trees could be part of a forest in the Rockies, or the wilds of Montana.

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Well, like me, you’d be way, way off. Wild it may be, but not in the way you’d think. This coyote, in fact, lives alongside one and a half million people in the Bronx, New York, a place that by day looks more like this:

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A surprise, right? Less of a surprise to Dr Mark Weckel, who grew up enjoying the nature and wildlife of New York City. He wrote this wonderful blog post about his current project (from which the camera trap photo was taken): the Gotham Coyote Project, which aims to describe and monitor the city’s population of this fascinating canid. The study of wild animals in urban populations is a burgeoning theme of research, and one which, I think, embraces the reality of an anthropogenically changed landscape. His post is worth a read! And, a good reminder that wild nature is never as far away from us as we imagine.

 

 

** UPDATE **

New study out in Proc B about biodiversity and urbanization – highly relevant! Read the BBC coverage here.