Rapid loss of top predators ‘a major environmental threat’

Top Predators and Population Regulation

Dingo for noncommercial usse“Scientists warn that removal from ecosystem of large carnivores like the dingo could be as detrimental as climate change Dingoes keep kangaroo and fox numbers down, which means less overgrazing and more small native animals.

“A study by researchers from Australia, the US and Europe found that removing large carnivores, which has happened worldwide in the past 200 years, causes a raft of harmful reactions to cascade through food chains and landscapes.  Small animals are picked off by feral pests, land is denuded of vegetation as herbivore numbers increase and streams and rivers are even diverted as a result of this loss of carnivores, the ecologists found.  “There is now a substantial body of research demonstrating that, alongside climate change, eliminating large carnivores is one of the most significant anthropogenic impacts on nature,” the study states.”  Source: 4thenaturesake.wordpress.com

GR:  Recent stories about predator recovery in Europe point out that going into the woods is becoming dangerous.  Just a few centuries ago we knew how to guard against large predators, but we gradually eradicated them and lost our cautious habits.  I expect that eradication will be our response to the tiniest losses to predators.

Our population continues to grow and destroy the habitats and prey required by lions and tigers and bears.  Eradication won’t require killing, it will simply occur as we remove habitat.  For top predators to survive, we must reverse human population growth and resource use.

I don’t think the much-needed regulator of human population growth will be large carnivores.  Microbes perhaps, but not bears and tigers.  We need to use our brains.  There are population control programs in the world today.  They aren’t talked about very much, but we need them to be.  We need them to become popular.  My challenge is to assemble information on current programs and post on this website.  If you have suggestions, please add them in a comment.  Thank you.

Predator Killing Contest Environmental Assessment Available for 15-day Comment Period

“The BLM is asking for comments on an Environmental Assessment that examines the impacts of issuing a Special Recreation Permit (SRP) to conduct a predator killing contest on BLM lands. The comment period begins today and remains open for 15 days, until Friday, October 16, 2014.

“If the SRP is issued, the killing contest is scheduled to take place from January 2-4, 2015 and would include prizes for killing a variety of species from wolves, coyotes, weasels, skunks, jackrabbits, raccoons, and starlings. Last year the contestants killed 21 coyotes and at least one badger. The permit would allow the contest to take place on BLM lands in a large portion of eastern Idaho.”

Source: www.thewildlifenews.com

GR:  Please send a comment to the BLM.  Instead of killing predators, we should be tending to the habitats that their prey need.  With more than half of Earth’s vertebrates wiped out by humans since 1970 (report by World Wildlife Fund), it is past time to begin conserving wildlife species, not killing them for fun.

Sharks are Ecosystem Regulators

“Everyone loves a movie with a good villain. Unfortunately, when a type of wildlife is cast in that role, it can lead to real-world challenges.  The fact is, Sharks Play An Important Role in Our Ecosystem.

“As predators at the top of the food chain, sharks serve a critically important purpose. Just like top predators on land, sharks regulate the populations of the species they feed on, helping to keep the ecosystem balanced and able to support a wide variety of life. A drastic decline in sharks could lead to a cascading effect throughout the ocean ecosystem, from coral reefs to the fish species on which many economies depend.”

Read more: www.defendersblog.org

GR:  For sport and from fear, we have hunted wolves, lions, tigers, and many other predators almost to extinction. Humans are smart, but not smart enough to care about the consequences of their actions. Perhaps in time a species will evolve that naturally accepts responsibility for what it does. That species will follow Immediacy the philosophy of consequences, and will study its surroundings so that it can understand and foresee what its actions will produce. Doesn’t seem like we’re the one.


Predator Derby Planned for Salmon, Idaho

Predator Derby

Photo: National Geographic

GR:  The BLM is proposing to issue a special 5-year, December 15 to January 15, recreation use permit for a predator derby to take place on public lands.  Up to 500 derby participants would have 3 days to kill gray wolves, coyotes, skunks, weasels, jackrabbits, raccoons, and starlings.  Killers would receive points for the animals they deliver to a judging station.  Please send comments to the BLM.

“The BLM has issued a “scoping letter” asking people to provide comments on the scope of what the BLM should consider in an Environmental Assessment they intend to conduct on the impacts of a proposed “predator derby” on the BLM lands surrounding the Salmon, Idaho area during the weekend of January 2-4, 2015.   The 15-day public comment period started on August 4th and will extend to August 18, 2014. The “predator derby” is being hosted by Idaho for Wildlife, the same outfit that held the coyote and wolf killing contest in Salmon last winter. Last year the derby was infiltrated by activists and a journalist, Christopher Ketcham, who wrote: How to Kill a Wolf | VICE United States.

Source:  Ken Cole, Wildlife News

Send comments before August 18, 2014:

Liz Townley
BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner


Salmon Field Office, Predator Derby Comments
1405 Hollipark Drive
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83467

To view the scoping letter and other materials click here.

Source:  Ken Cole, The Wildlife News


Cristina Eisenberg on Large Predators, Large Landscapes and Coexistence

Cristina Eisenberg interview by Matt Miller. Photo: Trevor Angel.

Cristina Eisenberg has emerged as a leading voice for large predator conservation in North America. Her research has investigated on trophic cascades and the effects of predators on landscape health and biodiversity. Currently a post-doctoral fellow in Oregon State’s School of Forestry, she is a frequent speaker and writer on predator conservation. She is the author of two books, most recently The Carnivore Way: Coexisting with and Conserving North America’s Predators, published this year by Island Press.

Source: blog.nature.org

GR:  Not knowing how ecosystems work, we can’t predict the consequences of our “management” actions.  We introduce animals and plants that we discover are destructive invaders of local habitats.  We invent pest control chemicals that we discover kill  the species that maintain ecosystem productivity.  We eradicate dangerous predators and then discover that we needed the predators to regulate prey populations.  We learn so very slowly because we do these things and rarely study the consequences.

Predator-prey cycles are an old story (e.g., Leopold 1949). Managers often ignore the little we do know out of fear and avarice, the regulators of bureaucracy.