Friday, February 10, 2017

New Data Supporting Paradigm Shift in Carnivore Conservation From Control to Coexistence

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“…this is why the caribou and the wolf are one; for the caribou feeds the wolf, but it is the wolf who keeps the caribou strong.” 
~ Eskimo legend as told to Farley Mowat (Mowat 1973:85)

For 90 years, the American Society of Mammalogists (ASM) has made science-based challenges to widespread lethal control of native mammals, particularly by the U.S. federal government targeting carnivores in the western states.

A consensus is emerging among ecologists that extirpated, depleted, and destabilized populations of large predators, like wolves, are negatively affecting the overall biodiversity and resilience of ecosystems.

An interdisciplinary group of wildlife biologists and social scientists has just published a series of papers presenting new evidence of the greater efficacy and social acceptability of nonlethal deterrents to livestock depredation by large carnivores, as well as the lack of justification and possible harm to populations and ecosystems resulting from lethal control of these predators. A Special Feature on Predator Control in the February 2017 issue of the Journal of Mammalogy compiles evidence of these effects on wolves in Idaho, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and dingoes in Australia, and also provides new evidence of the growing intolerance for lethal control in the attitudes of the American public.

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