This documentary tells the story from the discovery of Yellowstone National Park to the present.
At the beginning of the 19th Century, the American West was still an unspoilt land which was only inhabited by native Americans.
his situation changed after 1803, when Louisiana was purchased from the French government. A group of men were sent to explore the area and open up a route which would allow the land to be settled.
They discovered the fabled region in the lands of the Sheepeater and Shoshone Indians, right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.
The river that crossed it from North to South was in itself a wonder of nature. In its upper part it formed the largest lake in the United States. Beneath this lake and after passing over an amazing waterfall the waters flowed along the inside of a 32 km canyon.
The yellowish rocks flanking the river gave the region its name: Yellowstone.
The Rockies form the main mountain range of North America. This continent is moving towards the West and the pressure on the Pacific makes the Earth’s crust fold, so creating these awesome landscapes.
The formation process is not over yet. The northern part of Lake Yellowstone is rising at a rate of 24 mm a year. In 1959 an earthquake changed the course of the River Madison and created Lake Quake.
This geological activity is what created the most fascinating of Yellowstone’s landscapes.
The best times for the coyote began after the grey wolf was eradicated in 1930, but in 1995 the park was resettled with grey wolves and the coyote had to give up some of its territories to this more powerful competitor.
One of the reasons which led to the reintroduction of the wolf was to control the population of North America’s second biggest cervid, the Wapiti or Elk.
The Rocky mountain mouflon is much rarer. There are only a few isolated groups in the highest peaks of the mountains. Only 150 of these animals live in Yellowstone.
The pronghorn the fastest herbivore in America lives in the open spaces. It can reach speeds of 80 km/h and its heart is twice as big as would normally correspond to its weight.
The pronghorns share the prairies with the legendary Bison. Both species have different diets so they do not need to compete and can live together in peace.
The bison played an important part in Indian culture. It provided them with food, clothing and even materials for their “tepees”, their famous tent houses.
Everything changed when the white man arrived. The totally unscrupulous settlers hunted the bison indiscriminately.
Yellowstone was declared a National Park in 1872, a year after the second expedition was sent to confirm its existence. 9,000 km2 of unspoilt land acquired for the first time in history a new legal status, the objective of which was conservation.
In 1930, the grey wolves were exterminated in a campaign against park predators. The reason given for this was that they killed the large herbivores, which were the main attraction for visitors.
Effective measures to protect the park only started to be taken in the 1960’s. Today hunting is forbidden and only 5% of the total area of the park is open to visitors.