How bringing back predators can change the way prey behaves by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Articles:
Large predator numbers are declining across the globe. These declines have considerable ecological knock-on effects, many of which are currently unknown. Novel conservation techniques are required to reverse predator declines.
One such conservation action is the reintroduction of large predators into areas from which they have been eradicated. These large predator reintroduction programmes have more than one benefit. They expand the range of many vulnerable and endangered species. They also restore ecological predator-prey interactions, as well as boosting local tourism opportunities.
The most publicised and well known of these programmes was the reintroduction of wolves into the Yellowstone National Park in the US. This resulted in an ecological cascade, or knock-on effects. There were several of these but a key one was fearful elk moving away from rivers. This in turn led to the recovery of riverine vegetation, which in turn increased the abundance of songbirds, beavers and other species.
These observations have spurred scientists worldwide to focus their efforts on trying to unravel how ecosystems respond to predator reintroductions. This focus has increased the understanding of predator-prey interactions, but has also highlighted gaps in the understanding of the role of predators.