I am ‘borrowing’ today’s post from one of my favourite bloggers ‘The Roaming Naturalist’ (see his link on the right). There is no harm in this kind of cross-pollination, methinks, particularly when it is such a vital message and one well worth spreading.
The original article appeared on Thuth-out.org….
In a nutshell: When authorities decided (in their wisdom), to exterminate wolves from Yellowstone in the early 1900s – they effectively set off a chain reaction that resulted in the ‘de-watering’ of the land. It’s a simple equation: no wolves = fewer streams, marshes and springs.
When the wolves were removed, the elk thrived and ended up crowding the green river banks. This flourishing population of herbivores (without any predator to keep numbers in check) gobbled up willow and aspen seedlings before they could mature. Willows are both food and building material for beavers. As the willows declined, so did the beaver populations. When beavers build dams and ponds, they create wetland habitats for countless invertebrates, amphibians, fish, birds, and plants. They also slow down the flow of water and help distribute it over broad areas.
As the land dried up, overgrazed riverbanks eroded, life-giving river water receded and spawning beds for fish were silted over. Amphibians lost precious shade where they could have sheltered and hidden.
The bottom line is this: The big charismatic carnivores are critical as they regulate ecosystems from the top down. Remove them and the whole pack of cards comes tumbling down. Simple biology lesson stuff you would think? Yet all over the world (including our very own doorstep) these apex predators are being persecuted, hunted, trapped or deliberately removed/culled en masse…
And we are supposed to be such an intelligent species!