heck cattle

cloudchasersakonige  asked:

After seeing your post about "I do support regulated, sustainable wolf population control" I did a search for "why population control is a bad excuse for hunting" and found several articles on exactly that. Wolves did just fine for thousands of years without the Native Americans "managing" their population, why can't we?

@cloudchasersakonige Hi! Yes, it’s true that unfortunately a lot of hunters misplacedly throw around terms like “conservation” or “population control” as a selfish excuse to be able to hunt wolves.

How the ecosystems in the area you are talking about (or any other place on earth for that matter) used to be can’t be compared with today’s environmental situation. A lot has changed - mostly because of humans. 

Also, it might have seemed like everything did fine back then without the interference of humans, but nowadays we have the scientific evidence that shows us that ecosystems can get in great imbalance without our interference, and do not do just fine. You can see examples of this nowaday where we let the animals live and where you can see what happens when we do.

For example in Norway, the population of moose is way too big because of lack of predators. If the moose are not hunted by humans, they will overpopulate even more, leading to problems on different levels. The moose will suffer from starvation, more diseases and more conflicts. Humans are affected through numerous severe and deathly traffic accidents involving moose. When the moose overpopulate, they “push” other animals out of the ecosystem which often results in chain reactions that threathens the whole ecosystem, and possibly the survival of endangered species.

In my own country the Netherlands, there’s a nature preserve called Oostvaardersplassen where the ungulates (Konik horses, red deer, and heck cattle) are extremely overpopulated and where are no natural predators to prey on the ungulates. The government hasn’t really interfered yet, because they are taking way too long in taking decisions (talking about years here). In the mean time, Oostvaardersplassen it has become a perfect example of how an ecosystem gets greatly imbalanced when humans don’t interfere when needed. The obvious effects are that the ungulates overpopulate, eat all the flora until there’s nothing left for them or anyone else, and because of that are now starving to death. Less obvious effects for example are that certain insects that have a key role in the ecosystem there can’t live there anymore because there are no plants to cause shadows in the water where they live - something they need in their habitat in order to be able to live there. In both examples. the ecosystem could easily be restored and become balanced again by the interference of humans.

Here’s a quote from retired state wildlife biologist and supervisor David Johnson about an example involving the population control of wolves in order to go from imbalanced to balanced ecosystem: “When we started the Tanana Flats wolf control program in the mid-1970’s moose and caribou numbers were low and falling. Wolf numbers were high. Ten years later, and some years after the program ended, there were more of each: more moose, more caribou, and…here’s the punch line….the wolf population had bounced back to a larger size than when we started.” Read more about that here [x]

Also adding something important I forgot to mention that @millenniumvulcan commented on this post: Many ecosystems are closed systems because they are bordered, meaning animals can’t travel the distances they could before humans. This way, closed ecosystems can easily become overpopulated or unbalanced once an ecosystem engineer species is allowed to breed unchecked without migration to offset the numbers in that area. Those ecosystems would be destroyed if numbers weren’t managed.