Ecological Importance of Wild Carnivores

From all-creatures.org
Animal Rights Articles

Moo-ving people toward compassionate living

Visit the all-creatures.org Home Page.
Write us with your comments: flh@all-creatures.org

Ecological Importance of Wild Carnivores

By Brian Vincent
August 2008

Carnivores (cougars, coyotes, bears, wolves) play an integral role maintaining healthy ecosystems by regulating deer and elk, as well as smaller mammal, populations. Most of these species need large areas of land to meet all of their food and habitat requirements. For this reason, carnivores, especially wide-ranging species such as grizzly bears, are considered “umbrella” species. By protecting large wild areas for predators to live and roam, we are, in effect, saving a place for many more animal and plant species.


Photo by Jim Robertson http://www.animalsinthewild.org

Yet, sustained lethal control, as well as trophy hunting of some of these species, have had a devastating impact on the environmental health of the North American continent. Biologists have found that many large native carnivores are “keystone species,” and play a pivotal role in maintaining ecological integrity and preserving species diversity. The disappearance of a keystone species triggers the loss of other local species, and the intricate connections among the remaining residents begin to unravel. Species losses cascade and multiply throughout the ecosystem in a “domino effect.”

In the words of conservation biologist John Terborgh, “Our current knowledge about the natural processes that maintain biodiversity suggests a crucial and irreplaceable role of top predators. The absence of top predators appears to lead inexorably to ecosystem simplification accompanied by a rush of extinctions.” Simply put, by protecting top and mid-level carnivores, we protect the health of natural biological systems upon which many other species depend.


For more information about helping wildlife, visit Big Wildlife http://www.bigwildlife.org.

Return to Animal Rights Articles
The calf photo on these pages is from Farm Sanctuary with our thanks.

We welcome your comments:

Fair Use Notice: This document may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owners. We believe that this not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

All Creatures Animal Rights Article: justice, peace, love, compassion, ethics, organizations, Bible, God, Lord, Jesus, Christ, Holy Spirit, grass roots, animals, cruelty free, lifestyle, hunting, fishing, traping, farm, farming, factory, fur, meat, slaughter, cattle, beef, pork, chicken, poultry, hens, battery, debeaking.  Thee is also a similarity to the human aspects of prolife, pro life, pro-life, abortion, capital punishment, and war.


| Home Page | Animal Issues | Archive | Art and Photos | Articles | Bible | Books | Church and Religion | Discussions | Health | Humor | Letters | Links | Nature Studies | Poetry and Stories | Quotations | Recipes | What's New? |

Thank you for visiting all-creatures.org.
Since date.gif (1367 bytes)