April 14, 2012

Dealing with the overabundance of deer

Tree Hugger - Towns, cities, suburbs, and rural areas all have at least one thing in common: An over abundance of deer and other large herbivores. The free-ranging herds cross busy traffic lanes, eat from gardens, and spread disease—among other things. But what can be done to control them?

The answer, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University, is to cultivate healthy predator populations. Yes, this includes reintroducing wolves.

The researchers found that "there's consistent evidence that large predators help keep populations of large herbivores in check, with positive effects on ecosystem health."

Densities of large herbivores—like deer and moose—were six times greater in areas without wolf populations. In addition, they found that combinations of predators—like wolves and bears—had a greater benefit by allowing the species to work together to cultivate an "ecosystem of fear" amongst their prey.

3 comments:

Capt America said...

Of course they should be eaten too, but as you say, predators (other than human) do more to keep the prey healthy. A sane and humane balance should be the goal.

Let's see what Arlington County VA will do. They have too many deer, designated hunters, and recently coyotes have made themselves at home.

Anonymous said...

Or sterilise some percentage of female deer post-partum. It'd be a helluva lot less brutal than predation by wolves.

Anonymous said...

Extend the hunting season?