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April 17 Program: Bill Ripple
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

(photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park)

IMPORTANT NOTE: For this month only the chapter meeting will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis, at 2945 NW Circle Boulevard. Our usual venue, the First United Presbyterian Church, cancelled our reservation for April 17 because they needed the room that night. For further information contact Chris Mathews, Vice President, ASC, at 541-754-1172 or

The loss of large carnivores poses a major global conservation problem. In ecosystems around the world, the decline of large predators such as lions, dingoes, tigers, wolves, and bears is changing the face of landscapes. Threats such as habitat loss, persecution by humans, and loss of prey combine to create global hotspots of carnivore decline. Bill Ripple, our speaker in April will summarize how large carnivores are declining across the globe. With collapsing ranges, many of these animals are at risk of extinction, either locally or globally. Ironically, they are vanishing just as scientists are learning about their ecological importance. Bill will highlight 7 species that have been studied for their widespread effects or “trophic cascades.” These include African lions, leopards, Eurasian lynx, cougars, gray wolves, sea otters and dingoes.

Dr. Ripple will also update us on his recent research with Dr. Robert Beschta in Yellowstone National Park. He will describe how the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park is beginning to bring back a key part of the grizzly bear diet that has been missing for much of the past century—berries that help bears put on fat before going into hibernation. He and Dr. Beschta found that the level of berries consumed by Yellowstone grizzlies is significantly higher now that shrubs are starting to recover following the re-introduction of wolves, which have reduced over-browsing by elk herds. The berry bushes also produce flowers of value to pollinators like butterflies, insects and hummingbirds; food for other small and large mammals; and special benefits to birds.

Bill Ripple is a Professor of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University (OSU) and Director of the Trophic Cascades Program. For the last 15 years, his research focus has been on the ecological effects of large carnivores. Dr. Ripple was recently appointed as an OSU Distinguished Professor—the highest form of recognition to an OSU faculty member, conferred upon two top professors each year.

  • Monthly Meeting Info:
    Join us the third Thursday of every month, September through May, at the meeting hall of the First Presbyterian Church, 114 SW Eighth Street. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments and visiting. Chapter Meeting commences at 7:00 p.m. followed by the guest lecture at 7:30 p.m. Questions about the series can be directed to Chris Matthews 541-754-1172

  • Open Meetings of the Board of Directors

    ASC board meetings are open to all ASC members, and the board encourages you to come and see what we do. Our monthly board meeting is on Thursday one week before the General Meeting. See the calendar on the last page of The Chat for the meeting location.

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