Friday, August 19, 2011

On Apex Predators

Yes, the loss of large predators does impact the general ecology as it allows prey species to run rampant. Yet we keep omitting the reality that we are ourselves the true apex predator and are in fact sometimes quite guilty of not shouldering our responsibilities.

Yellowstone would have got along just fine if a band of human hunter gatherers operated there and harvested the proper number of prey animals.

Restoration of the true wild in chosen refugia does include the big ones if we want it to work.  Yet were we operate and conduct agriculture, we have to get busy and remember to also manage the related woodlands and wilds while also harvesting prey animals.

The most obvious today is the burgeoning populations of deer and wild turkeys.  The herds need to be owned and managed and everyone needs to accept that they are part of the surrounding biome that the assist in managing.  After all the deer spend most of their time in the woods browsing.

In Yellowstone, they will soon need to control the wolf population.  It is as simple as that.  The smart way would be to find a way to attract them to a feeding stand in late March when starvation strikes anyway.  You never want to encounter a pack of starving wolves by yourself.

The fact remains that apex predator management is difficult and deadly serious, yet it must be mastered in order to also sustain vibrant biomes.

Combining that with an active harvesting program for prey species is what needs to be done just about everywhere, although the simplest expedient is once again shoulder our responsibility to be the apex predator.  Those turkey flocks feed a lot of foxes and coyotes but can also supply a good supply of human food.  I have no doubt that there exists a live premium market for a thanksgiving wild turkey.

Loss of large predators has far-reaching consequences

Aug 16, 2011

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