View Full Version : The ecological damage of hunting predators

02-10-2009, 09:58
I've gone on about my objections to hunting predators before -- it visibly damages ecosystems.

Now LiveScience has a good article on the scale of the problems -- it's worth a read by anyone who cares about our fauna.


02-10-2009, 12:01
Interesting the bit about baboons.

Possibly due to declining tiger and panther populations there is a boom in macaque numbers which are not worried about loss of habitat since they can move into urban areas and mug humans and steal their food

02-10-2009, 12:13
Hunting isn't the problem, human overpopulation and the resultant loss of habitat is.

A certain percentage of almost any species can be responsibly harvested without harming the overall population whatsoever. But critters like tigers and lions simply don't coexist with people.

You live in San Francisco, where grizzlies are native but geographically extinct. Even if no grizzlies are ever hunted again, anywhere, they aren't coming back to San Francisco until 99% of the people are gone.

In remote areas of Alaska and British Columbia, on the other hand, apex predators like grizzlies and wolves are thriving despite annual hunting seasons.

02-10-2009, 12:29
interesting read dogwood, thanks for the link

02-10-2009, 16:50
Hunting isn't the problem, human overpopulation and the resultant loss of habitat is.

I never said hunting was the problem -- I'm a hunter, in fact.

I said hunting predators is a problem. In this country throughout the westward push in the US -- in other words for the last couple of hundred years -- we've engaged in systematic and (largely panic driven because of usually imaginary livestock issues) slaughter of predators.

It goes on today (note the controversy about the wolf hunts today in the west).

That's not to say over population and loss of habitat aren't significant issues too -- it's one (only one) of the reasons mountain lions are showing up in the suburbs out here.

But the specific damage caused by over hunting predators and well known and well documented.

Whenever we've had a moratorium on hunting predators (again, look at wolf policy in the US) the predator population has sprung back and a healthy balance appears. But sadly, all it takes is a couple of lost sheep to have people panic again...

You mention the California Grizzly -- it was a classic case of over hunting (you can read the Storer and Tevis book on this for more info). Incidentally, it's not "geographically extinct" as you mention, it was a distinct species of brown bear and is now utterly extinct. Certainly loss of habitat was partly to blame, but the extended and targeted hunts in the 1830-1879 period pushed them to the brink and by 1920s they were gone.

Citing the unique situation of Alaska (I lived there and hunted there and know its game situation well) doesn't support the argument simply because the state is simply too vast with too few people to exert the kind of hunting pressure that we've seen in the lower 48 states.

(That said, I'm very concerned about that crazy wolf hunting bounty they've got in place When I see Sarah Palin shooting wolves from planes -- a truly sporting proposition, eh? - it makes me worry about what happens to the wolf population over the next decade or so.)

For the lower 48 -- and portions of Canada -- there should be a cessation of nearly all predator hunting until populations begin to normalize -- in other words for a decade or two.

By the way, there's a movement underway to try to reintroduce the non-native grizzly to California in the hopes of having some grizzlies here. You can imagine where I stand on that one :)