Terry Keiser Distinguished Lectureship in the Life Sciences
Yellowstone Wolves: Restoring Wildness to the World’s First National Park
Dr. Douglas Smith
Senior wildlife biologist for the National Park Service
Douglas W. Smith, Ph.D., is a senior wildlife biologist in Yellowstone National Park. He supervises the wolf, bird and elk programs – formerly three jobs now combined into one under Smith’s supervision. His original job was project leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project, which involved the re-introduction and restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National Park.
While working toward his Bachelor of Science in wildlife biology at the University of Idaho, he became involved with the study of wolves and moose on Isle Royale with Rolf Peterson, which led to long-term involvement (1979-94) with this study as well as a Master of Science in biology from Michigan Technological University under Peterson in 1988. His master’s degree research focused on beavers in northern Minnesota and resulted in an 11-year study of beavers in Voyageurs National Park, which eventually led to a Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno, in ecology, evolution and conservation biology under Stephen H. Jenkins in 1997. Smith also has conducted beaver research in Wisconsin and Michigan and has studied wolves in Minnesota with the world’s leading wolf expert, L.D. Mech (1983).
Smith has published a wide variety of journal articles and book chapters on beavers, wolves and birds and has co-authored three popular books on wolves: Wolves on the Hunt, The Wolves of Yellowstone and Decade of the Wolf, which won the 2005 Montana book award for best book published in Montana.
Smith has participated in a number of documentaries about wolves for National Geographic and British Broadcasting Company as well as other media. His work will be featured on the television program 60 Minutes this fall. He is interviewed widely and speaks often about wolves to audiences all over the world. His professional interests include wolf-population dynamics, wolf-prey relationships, restoration of ecological processes, raptor conservation and beaver-population dynamics. He is a member of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team, the Re-Introduction Specialist Group and Canid Specialist Group for the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Smith is an avid canoeist who prefers to travel mostly in the remote regions of northern Canada with his wife, Christine, and their two sons Sawyer and Hawken.