National Geographic : 2003 Nov
migrating hummingbirds, that the GYE should extend down to Central and South America. But that's not a practical chunk of land to bite off. Franz Camenzind, the Jackson biologist, told me, "In the end, for sanity's sake, you have to draw a line in the forest and call it an ecosystem." No longer defined just by the range needed to accommodate the grouchy travels of Ursus arctos horribilis,the GYE as a concept has expanded to also include (for instance) intact watersheds and mountain ranges. This spread of approximately 18 million acres now swallows, in addition to the two national parks, more than a dozen towns, all or most of seven national forests, three national wildlife refuges, more than twenty other state and local jurisdictions, as well as numerous ranches, roads, and oil and natural gas fields in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks are at the heart of the GYE, and the GYE is the body supported by the parks. Without one or the other, the wild life would cease to exist, and both would be reduced to a state of life-starved scenery. FROM MY CABIN I CAN DRIVE ACROSS the GYE in any direction in a day. "The GYE" said Camenzind, "is the largest relatively intact ecosystem in the lower forty-eight, but when you look at it on a map, or fly over it, it's tiny. It's the largest we have, but it's not large." Because of its reduced scale, we humans who attempt to manage the GYE's survival need to pay attention Paint your not just to the celebrity species lowstone's (grizzlies, wolves, bison) but to the Grand Teto quieter processes that speak of photograph the wildlife's ability to survive the more phot caprices of our desires. We have to graphic.co 120 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * NOVEMBER 2003 try to put ourselves in the hooves of the animals we want to live with. Joel Berger is lean and weather-washed and unassuming, a man whose mind is bilingual between the human world and the world of animals. For the past nine years he has endured charging moose, surprised bears, the hostile breath of Rocky Mountain winters, and long trudges through leg-grasping sagebrush in pur suit of freshly delivered moose droppings. As a biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, he has been studying what effect, if any, the recent reintroduction of wolves into the GYE is having on the resident moose population, which had not known wolves for generations. Berger has analyzed the fertility of moose cows (hormones present in droppings indicate preg nancy rates) and the subsequent calf survival rate and has tested moose reaction to recorded wolf calls as well as other natural sounds. This has led him to conclude that a recent drop in the moose population is due not to the presence of wolves, as was commonly supposed, but to the drought that has desiccated the area for the past four years. In these lean times fewer cows con ceive, and fewer calves survive the crucial crunch of summer before the deadening of winter. The day after winter solstice, Berger and I set out walking south end of desktop with Yel colors and send a n e-greeting. Find her's tips and os at nationalgeo m/ngm/0311. across the sagebrush flats at the Grand Teton National Park. A col lared cow moose was lying with four males and one other female in the pale green scrub. When we were almost upon her, Berger sud denly cupped his hands and called like a raven. The cow moose didn't flinch. Then he howled like a wolf. The cow moose looked bored.