Letter: Wolves: nature's built-in cull

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The Independent Online
Sir: For an Alaskan, Kirk Sweetsir demonstrates a pretty abysmal appreciation of predator/prey relationships (letter, 31 May). He claims that reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone National Park will result in elk, deer and moose being 'substantially reduced'. While it is dangerous to generalise, wolves, like all pack predators, tend to prey on the old, sick and weak, thereby reducing competition for food among the healthy breeding stock. There is no benefit in a pack of wolves wasting energy chasing healthy animals.

In a stable wolf pack only the dominant male and female mate, thereby producing one litter of young with the 'best' genes. Predator populations adjust proportionately to those of their prey. In other words, if wolves 'substantially' depleted numbers of elk, deer and moose, then wolf numbers would similarly reduce until prey numbers revived.

I wish the project all success, if only to prove that nature's culling, although distressing, is normally more 'scientific' than man's blundering and often spuriously motivated slaughter.

Yours sincerely,

JOHN BRYANT

Wildlife Officer,

League Against

Cruel Sports

London, SE1

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