Yellowstone National Park wildlife biologist will speak at ISU about wolf reintroduction

Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith. Photo by the National Park Service.

AMES, Iowa — The leader of the Yellowstone Gray Wolf Restoration Project will discuss the controversial reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park during a talk at Iowa State University.

Douglas Smith will present "Twenty Years of Yellowstone Wolves: Reintroduction to Recovery" at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Smith's talk is Iowa State's 50th Anniversary Paul L. Errington Memorial Lecture, and is free and open to the public.

Smith is a senior wildlife biologist with the National Park Service. He has been involved with wolves in Yellowstone since their reintroduction in 1995 after a 70-year absence. As project leader, Smith supervises research on ecosystem responses to the predator and educates people on wildlife conservation and endangered species preservation.

Once among the most numerous of North American predators, wolves were listed as endangered in the United States by the 1970s. Following years of debate and public comment, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the decision to reintroduce wolves to the park.

"Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone," which Smith co-authored, details the process of reintroducion and the effects of the wolves' return on the Yellowstone ecosystem. The wolves have not only survived, but they have completely changed the ecosystem, bringing a renewed degree of wildness to the national park.

A wolf

Photo by the National Park Service.

Prior to his position at Yellowstone, Smith worked with wolves on Michigan's Isle Royale and in Minnesota. He earned his Ph.D. in ecology, evolution and conservation biology from the University of Nevada, Reno. Smith has appeared on programs such as PBS' "Nature" and National Geographic's "Strange Days on Planet Earth."

Smith's presentation is co-sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences F. Wendell Miller Lecture Fund, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the departments of Agronomy, Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, and Natural Resource Ecology and Management (NREM); Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program; Fish, Wildlife and Biology Club; Iowa Cooperative Wildlife Studies Unit; NREM Graduate Student Organization; and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body.

More information on ISU lectures is available at, or by calling 515-294-9935.