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New Report Highlights Need for Changes in Predator Management Policies

[large thumbnail url=”new-report-highlights-need-for-changes-in-predator-management-policies” filename=”science” year=”2011″ month=”05″ day=”26″] [thumbnail icon url=”new-report-highlights-need-for-changes-in-predator-management-policies” filename=”science” year=”2011″ month=”05″ day=”26″] Big Wildlife, a non-profit conservation group working to protect predators throughout the west, commissioned, and has now released a special report to evaluate current predator management policies.

A new report, which provides a synthesis of the latest science and research concerning predator management, highlights the need for changes in predator management policies throughout the western U.S. The report is available at:

The report was written by George Wuerthner, a former Montana hunting guide who previously worked as a biologist and botanist for several wildlife and land management agencies. Wuerthner is also the author of 35 books dealing with natural history, conservation and environmental issues. The report was commissioned by Big Wildlife, a non-profit conservation group working to protect predators throughout the west.

Key findings in the report include:

– Current state wildlife policies often maintain predator populations above extinction levels, but well below maximum biological carrying capacity.

– Predator policy typically ignores the ecological influence of predators in terms of their critically important influence upon ecosystem heath and organization.

– Management of predator populations, without consideration of the social organization of top predators, can lead to great conflicts with humans and livestock.

– Simple animal husbandry techniques have been shown to greatly reduce livestock losses from predators; unfortunately, many ranchers don’t use these practices.

“A growing body of scientific research suggests that hunting disrupts the social ecology of predators, leading to more predation on livestock, thus exacerbating conflicts with humans,” explained George Wuerthner. “Hunting is an indiscriminate and crude way of managing predators. Surgical removal of individuals causing problems is the only sensible way of reducing human conflicts.”

“Predator management has been degrading ecosystems, harming wildlife and hurting taxpayers for centuries; now we have a compilation of science to demonstrate why,” stated Spencer Lennard, Project Director of Big Wildlife. “In the same way that ocean ecosystems need the regulation of their top predator sharks, our terrestrial ecosystems are becoming impoverished by the systemic removal of species like cougars, wolves and bears that provide critical ecological services.”

Full report:

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