NEWS: Should National Parks Be Strictly Wild?
"Wild fruit is typically an important part of grizzly bear diet, especially in late summer when they are trying to gain weight as rapidly as possible before winter hibernation," Ripple said in a press release. "Berries are one part of a diverse food source that aids bear survival and reproduction, and at certain times of the year can be more than half their diet in many places in North America."
Now, however, with wolves hunting elk again, there are more berries. Yellowstone is berry central for bears, with numerous types that they love: serviceberry, chokecherry, buffaloberry, twinberry, huckleberry and others. Since the reintroduction of wolves, the percentage of berry waste in bear poo has nearly doubled.
"Studies like this also point to the need for an ecologically effective number of wolves," co-author Robert Beschta, an OSU professor emeritus, said. "As we learn more about the cascading effects they have on ecosystems, the issue may be more than having just enough individual wolves so they can survive as a species. In some situations, we may wish to consider the numbers necessary to help control over-browsing, allow tree and shrub recovery, and restore ecosystem health."