Threatened Species Are Thriving in Yellowstone. Now What?

The park's protected ecosystem has reinvigorated what remains of the Wild West. The question is whether this is as wild as it gets.

At its birth in 1872, Yellowstone National Park was viewed in great part as an oversize zoo, its diverse animals managed like captives in a menagerie. But in the decades since, much has changed.

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk summed up today’s more expansive view in a recent interview: “Rather than manipulating wildlife to do what we want it to do, we strive now to secure habitat to let wildlife do what it needs to do—to let natural processes play out as best we can.”

Indeed, the arrival of the modern environmental age has brought many dramatic changes to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Take the case of the black-footed ferret.

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