photo by Shreve Stockton
HABITAT – HABITAT – HABITAT
There is ever increasing research pointing out that habitat can greatly affect the relationship between predators and their prey. When we change the landscape by logging or development or building roads….and so many other ways, the relationship of our wild species can be affected, and many times, very seriously. Below is an article about pheasant hunting…hunters are seeing for themselves that protecting habitat, not killing carnivores, is the best way to support the presence of the species they wish to hunt.
Coyote by Shreve Stockton
Spring is arriving,
and all new life is appearing~
How DIVERSE AND HEALTHY is this life?
Are the predators present?
Is the KEYSTONE PREDATOR present?
FOR PREDATION IS THE FUNDAMENTAL DRIVER OF DIVERSITY ON OUR PLANET EARTH!
Renowned biologist and researcher of our great carnivores, George Schaller has spoken of predation: “There is neither cruelty nor compassion in the predator’s quest for food. The hunt is a time when each animal uses to the utmost those attributes with which evolution has endowed it.”
E.O. Wilson urges: “We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means. Biodiversity is the totality of all inherited variation in the life forms of Earth, of which we are one species. We study and save it to our great benefit. We ignore and degrade it to our great peril.”
COYOTE ~ A KEYSTONE Why is it then that we as a society permit the year round persecution of this most important and resilient carnivore of the Americas? This violence will continue…..and it will be all we have to hand down to our children….an impoverished legacy…..
UNTIL YOU FIND YOUR VOICE AND SPEAK!
photo by Forest Hart
COYOTES AND OTHER LARGE CARNIVORES
are VITAL for biodiversity….diverse life
and diverse life is vital for the health of our planet….
BUT ….diverse life is about habitat …both the predator and the prey need habitat for diversity of life to happen.
It all sounds so complex…yes? But what if all this was happening in your yard? You can either create a healthy habitat for the predator and the prey to live in, or you can create a desert for them by continuing to have only a monoculture of a lawn covered in pesticides. When you create a healthy habitat in your yard, say for birds and their prey, watch what happens……it will help you to understand how the larger predators like Coyote are a part of how that whole system works. See below a great link with article written by Douglas Tallamy, Professor of Entomology (bugs) and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Deleware ~
photo by Janet Kessler
WHY IS IT THAT OUR HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS PUTS GREAT VALUE ON WILDLIFE THAT ARE ENDANGERED…..BUT WE ALLOW THE CONTINUED, UNRELENTING KILLING OF VERY SUCCESSFUL CARNIVORES…….COYOTE?
Maybe those two conflicting forms of consciousness cause the loss of important carnivores…..
In his book, Spillover, author David Quammen speaks of serious medical epidemics on our planet. He wrote “There is a convergence of two forms of crisis on our planet – ecological and medical. Human caused ecological pressures and disruptions are bringing animal pathogens even more in contact with human populations. Viruses and bacteria are all embedded within ecological relationships that limit their abundance and their geographical range.”
Coyotes play a vital role on our American continent. As important carnivores, they are able to limit organisms that cause serious health issues and death in humans. Lyme disease is one…along with other bacteria we are discovering, that are capable of killing a human in 48 hours.
Do we need to protect Coyotes from year round human abuse? Maybe you can answer that yourself…
“History is who we are,
why we are,
the way we are.”
historian David McCullough
Our history as a society on this new American continent is filled with complexities, and immensely different perspectives and belief systems that are passionately held.
So too the perspectives held regarding the wildlife we share this land with. The initial views brought over by Europeans regarding wildlife have changed little in 500 years. There are the good ones…the deer, and the bad ones…the carnivores.
But our science has opened another window for us….do we choose to look into it? What our science has shown us is that the deer and the carnivore work together to create healthy ecosystems that we as humans require to live.
Carnivores keep our deer populations at healthy numbers…10 to 20 per square mile depending on the landscape and weather conditions, and the deer sustain our carnivores’ lives.
So here is a scenario taking place in National Park lands in Maryland and Virginia….the Civil War battlefields. At this time there are 230 deer per square mile on these past battlefields, and scientists are sharing that they are destroying the flora and the fauna…the landscape and the other animals who require that landscape to survive.
So what is the proposed plan? Spend 1.8 million dollars to kill 2,800 of those deer in the next five years. After that they plan to use chemical contraception to control the herds.
IS THERE SOMETHING GLARINGLY OUT OF BALANCE WITH NATURE’S PLAN HERE?
WHERE ARE THE CARNIVORES?
So here in Maine, our carnivores play this immensely important role of taking care of our deer herds. It is nature’s way….though we completely understand it or not.
photo by Jan Myers
HOW WE TREAT COYOTES MATTERS!
This past week I spoke with a friend of mine whose daughter is being treated for Lyme disease. It has been an ongoing difficult time for both a mother who is deeply concerned for her daughter, and her daughter who just graduated from high school with the happy expectation of attending the college of her choice.
But she may not be able to go to college this year as planned, as she suffers from continual dizziness due to the effects of Lyme disease.
We know that Coyote’s primary food for most of the year are RODENTS…and that rodents (white footed mice) are the carriers of the Lyme disease bacterium. We also know that these particular mice favor living in disturbed ecosystems….like the ones we live in.
But at the same time the state of Maine allows the killing of Coyotes year round, day and night. …this important carnivore who is capable of controlling the white footed mice population. So the scenario goes something like this ~ a Coyote family is living in their territory and regulary keeping a balance in the rodent population. Then an individual will come and kill the entire coyote family, including their small pups. That ecosystem that once was their territory ceases to be balanced and protected from disease, as the rodent population will grow with no population controls through the carnivore…Coyote.
That is when we humans enter this scenario. Landscapes that are not kept in balance by means of our major carnivores become UNSAFE places for us. Exposure to Lyme disease rises in landscapes where Coyotes are not. And yes, other carnivores prey on rodents as well…such as hawks, foxes and owls. But a large carnivore like Coyote has a much greater affect because of their capacity to hunt so many more rodents for their sustenance.
SO WHY DO WE ALLOW THE YEAR ROUND KILLING OF THIS IMPORTANT CARNIVORE ?
What is best for them is ALSO best for us.