On Tuesday, a conservation group and government scientists reported that an invasive species of trout that devastated the native trout species in Yellowstone National Park is showing signs of decline, which is deemed as a “significant progress” in their efforts to get rid of them.
The invasive trout were first seen in the Yellowstone Lake in 1994 when it was illegally introduced to the lake. Before the new species were introduced, the lake was dominated by the Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
The introduction of the invasive trout species had a great impact on the park’s ecosystem. Ospreys, which were seen all over the park in the past have sought waters that are more productive. Grizzly bears that depended on the native trout as a food source, had to find other sources of food like moose calves and elk.
The National Park Service has been doing all it can for several years to get rid of the invasive trout population. Their efforts are gradually paying off. Senior Scientist for Trout Unlimited, Jack Williams, said “While we have a lot of work to do, these are very encouraging results.” Their end goal is to reduce the invasive trout’s population until it reaches a point that they are no longer destructive to the native trout and other animals in the park.
Based on the data analysis of scientists, the number of juvenile native trout has increased over the last 2 years. There is also an analysis taken from the Montana State University stating that the suppression efforts are having a “negative growth” for the invasive trout.
While they are not looking to completely eradicate the invasive trout, they are still looking to manage the population until the Yellowstone cutthroat trout can thrive again. Dave Hallac, Chief of Resources for the Yellowstone National Park said that if that happens, it “will be a huge and historic win for conservation.”
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