Population Dynamics of Wolves and Coyotes at Yellowstone National Park
Gray wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park (YNP) in 1995. The population initially flourished, but since 2003 the population has experience significant reductions due to factors that may include disease-induced mortality, illegal hunting, park control programs, vehicle induced deaths and intra-species aggression. Despite facing similar conditions, and interference competition with the wolves, the coyote population at YNP has persisted. In this paper we introduce an epidemiological framework that incorporates natural, human-caused and disease-induced mortality as well as interference competition between two species of predators. The outcomes generated by this theoretical framework are used to explore the impact of competition and death-induced mechanisms on predators coexistence. It is the hope that these results on the competitive dynamics of carnivores in Yellowstone National Park will provide park management insights that result in policies that keep the reintroduction of wolves successful.
Krystal Blanco – Boston University
Kamal Barley – Arizona State University
Anuj Mubayi – Arizona State University