Yellowstone National Park, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and wildlife registered a major change in the guard with Dr. Doug Smith moving on from his world class wolf/predation studies. He leaves his job in the National Park Service as project leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project and senior wildlife biologist. His work, and that of his team, is recognized as among the best long-term ecological research anywhere.
When the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative (NRCC) presented Doug with the Craighead Conservation Award in 2021, Rolf Peterson (Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project Leader) told us: “What we’ve learned about wolves in the Yellowstone ecosystem since 1995 is phenomenal…. Doug helped spawn a scientific renaissance that has been truly remarkable, even by Yellowstone’s standards.”
Another luminary in wolf science, Dave Mech (International Wolf Center), said: “Doug not only excelled in leading the Yellowstone aspect of the wolf reintroduction since the late 1990s … he has maintained the world’s most extensive and intensive wolf research program ever since.”
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Norm Bishop (retired NPS) says: “[Doug] built an extensive network of collaborators, consultants, and volunteers that have contributed to a massive body of science on the impact of reintroduced predators on ecosystems. He has authored or co-authored 25 annual reports, 85 scientific publications, 3 books, 22 book chapters, 37 popular articles, and 27 technical reports.” He has given innumerable public talks.
We are indebted to Doug for the many years he worked and volunteered to spread understanding of wolves in nature. Doug has helped countless students, community groups, peers, and the public better understand the workings of nature.
When we think of Doug, we think of an iconic moment as he was photographed carrying a reintroduced wolf. We have not heard the last of this innovative, hard-working scientist, whose work in the public interest has been of world class significance. We wish Doug well.