is Ecologically Sound
Most of us are in the business of wildlife management because we care about the
welfare of wildlife. The long-term sustainability of wildlife populations is extremely
important to us and is our highest priority. Wildlife biologists spend a lot of time and
effort monitoring wildlife populations, mapping critical habitats, and acquiring and
managing land for habitat conservation. For most of us, what we do for a living is not a
job, but our passion.
In what might seem to be a contradictory sentiment, we also believe that
regulated utilization of the resource is not only ok, but ecologically sound and, in some
cases, has great environmental benefits. It would be inappropriate to suggest that those
people morally opposed to killing should change or abandon their personal convictions.
However, the regulated utilization of a locally healthy, abundant wildlife population
often results in significant ecological benefits.
|Regulated harvest helps to maintain wild populations
(decreases the potential for negative interactions between humans and wildlife, i.e. bears
at bird feeders or on porches, coyote attacks.)|
|Regulated harvest provides a local, healthy, organic
source of food (or clothing) with minimal impacts to other resources. Many of our other
sources of food and clothing require the conversion of wildlife habitat (cotton - bear
habitat, citrus groves - wetlands; beef cattle - prairie and desert ecosystems),
transportation costs (use of gas/oil, pollution, energy for refrigeration, etc.), and
often the use of a broad array of chemicals and pesticides to produce.|
helps to maintain some populations in ecological balance with their habitat (deer,
muskrat, beaver, raccoon) many which are increasing due to human changes to the landscape
(loss of predators, conversion of forestland to suburban/agricultural habitats.)|
|Regulated harvest helps to control populations of
introduced exotics such as nutria.|
Regulated harvest helps to protect declining, rare,
threatened, or endangered species by targeting specific predators that are negatively
affecting recovery efforts (i.e. red fox, raccoon, and skunk predation on piping plover
nests). Regulated harvest provides an opportunity for millions of people to interact with
nature and the out-of-doors thereby fostering stewardship and conservation efforts.
There are many threats to the earth's environment and the wildlife
populations that depend on those environments. Challenges lie ahead for those of us
concerned about the future of our wildlife. Increasing human populations could result in
the continuing loss and fragmentation of habitat from the permanent conversion of open
space to roads and subdivisions. The introduction of exotic species such as purple
loosestrife, mute swans, and zebra mussels all negatively affect native flora and fauna.
Possible changes in our natural processes (global warming, etc.) might influence the
stability of our ecosystems in ways we do not yet understand. We need to work together to
sustain our natural resources. In the United States and Canada today, the harvest of our
wildlife is carefully monitored and controlled and is not a threat to the long-term
sustainability of the species.