The Importance of Predators

More to come…

In “The Crucial Role of Predators: A New Perspective on Ecology” (Yale360, 15 Sept 2011), Caroline Fraser writes:

Ecologist Oswald Schmitz of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies [says] “Piece by piece, it’s taken 20 years to accumulate the evidence, and the culmination is in that Science paper — that the world is driven by predators as well as nutrients. We have to pay attention to their health and well-being if we want a healthy ecosystem. Simply eliminating them because we want more prey or because we don’t think they’re important is very misguided.”

You can hear some discussions of predators, their nature, their importance to a healthy environment for us humans, and their ecological importance, in some episodes of the CCERP Podcast.

1. Episode18 Shelley Alexander, Canid Specialist, talks Wild Coyotes and Human Culture
2. Episode 29 Ecologist Dr. Mark Elbroch on Cougar Ecology and More

At Scribe Vineyard in California, they killed Rattlesnakes because they thought Rattlesakes were bad. When the owners of the vineyard were riding around on their horses, they’d shoot the snakes whenever they’d see them. But, for some reason, they started having loss of their grape vines. For some unknown reason, there were suddenly more Gophers! Strange. Yeah, as you might have figured: Gophers were free and wild because the Rattlesnakes were gone. Killing the Rattlers had affected their wine production — in other words, cut into their profits, their savings, their ability to take care of any children they might have had and who’d need college and all that, and their future. So, they quit killing the Rattlers. And their profits came back.

Some people have reported to me how they, or people they know, when they killed snakes on their property, had trouble with rats and mice.

Some have found a similar problem when they, unintended or intended, discouraged Hawks and Owls around their property: problems with mice and rats.

Some have reported to me or in articles I have read how they had trouble with rodents (mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, etc.) when they tried to eliminate Coyotes and Bobcats from their property.