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Large carnivores – from wolves to sea otters – are some of the most admired animals on the planet because of their importance, power, and grace. Yet, our beloved carnivores may be no more soon if we continue encroaching upon their lives. What this means is not only a bleak future for them, but also a doomed one for us all.

What’s going on?

A new report, published in Science, penned by scientists from all over the globe – from Australia to the U.S. to Italy – tells us that the world’s large carnivore populations are near collapse – some even at risk, either globally or locally, of extinction.

Researchers discovered that 77 percent of all top or apex predator populations are in decline and that more than half of their historical ranges have also been cut by over 50 percent.

These top predators (i.e. those over 33 pounds) may seem so different in many regards, but they all have one common denominator in their lives: humans.

What’s the danger?

Their livelihoods and the world as we know it are both in danger because of how we perceive and subsequently treat these apex predators.

While we may all love to watch in wonder at lions, wolves, and the like on TV or in photographs – amazed at their behaviors and skills – in real life, many consider them problems. They are viewed as “competitors, pests and deadly threats,” Mongabay notes.

What’s more, there is a “classic concept” that still prevails in the minds of many that “predators are harmful and deplete fish and wildlife,” yet this mentality is long “outdated,” as Phys.org reports from the study’s researchers.

Instead, what we need to start embracing – and embracing fast – is that there is a “growing body of evidence for the complex roles that carnivores play in ecosystems and for their social and economic benefits,” as reported by Phys.org.

To boil this down to one simple phrase: we need large carnivores.

Why are top predators so important?

A common example of why apex predators are so significant can be taken out of one of Yellowstone National Park’s many conservation chapters.

At one point, the park’s gray wolf population was nonexistent due to overhunting, resulting in heavy herds of grazing animals, and even some with irregularities, but all of whom would have been successfully managed by a healthy, stable wolf population. Yet, without the wolves, vegetation was decimated, bird and small mammal patterns shifted and the whole ecosystem went out of flux.

But, thankfully, because of proper conservation initiatives and increased understanding, their populations are now rebounding as is the park’s ecosystem.

Success stories like these do exist, yet there are not enough of them because carnivores, like so many other animals, are not getting the attention they desperately need.

As Wildlife Conservation Society says in a press release on the study, carnivores:

  • Control herbivores to the relief of plants.
  • Mitigate global warming.
  • Enhance biodiversity.
  • Restore rivers and streams.
  • Regulate wildlife disease and livestock disease spillover.

And as lead author and Oregon State University professor, William Ripple, says, “Nature is highly interconnected,” and remember, Green Monsters: we are a part of this interconnectedness as well, and so it’s high time we start paying attention and changing the way we view and treat these necessary beings.

What can I do to help?

The main causes for the decline in large carnivore populations around the world differ from place-to-place but the common contributors include: habitat loss and degradation, persecution, depletion of prey, overhunting, and use of their parts or pelts for trophy hunting, fur, or traditional medicine.

So what can you do in your daily life to help mitigate these effects even if you don’t engage in these practices yourself? Here are some ideas:

  • Avoid purchasing products that directly contribute to habitat loss and degradation such as palm oil and unsustainable paper and wood products.
  • Stand up to local land-grabs for development or wildlife policies that place crucial species at risk of hunting by contacting your local officials, joining a grassroots group, spreading awareness on social media, and/or writing letters to your local papers. (More tips on grassroots advocacy here.)
  • When choosing to make a charitable gift, think of conservation organizations such as Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund, Panthera, and others who are doing much of the groundwork for top predators of all sorts.
  • Spread awareness about threats to top predators and tolerance of these crucial species through social media and among family and friends by sharing informational articles such as those located in OGP’s Conserve & Protect! page.

Can you think of any other ways we can save top predators together – either locally, state-wide, nationally, or globally? Tell us and other Green Monsters with a comment below!

Image source: USFWS Endangered Species / Flickr

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58 comments on “Future Without Large Carnivores Spells Doom for Us All”

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Avid Comment
2 Months Ago

After review I question why the same comment is allowed time after time here, oh well. As to actual subject, I have great doubts as to saving large carnivores from extinction. When humanity attempts to establish ecological environs worldwide the large carnivores almost always cause difficulties, in fact leading to the extinction of other species. Alligators in Florida have really depleted some species and need extreme control to end this destruction. This is caused by well meaning humans thinking large predators are needed . Some creatures are better off extinct so other creatures can survive. Note I define LARGE adult predators as being over 100 lbs not the lower figure mentioned in this article.


Reply
Jordan Elana Smith
7 Months Ago

When I die, I hope to be able to donate my physical remains to an large endangered carnivorous species such as the Endangered North American Wolf, or endangered South American Jungle Cat such as the Jaguar or leopard, or the Jaguars of Asia, or the cheetahs of Africa, etc. Or perhaps to an endangered Shark or other endangered ocean carnivores.
In pondering long and hard on how I wish my physical remains to be treated when I die, always having known I wished to somehow give my body back to the Mother Earth\'s ecosystem rather than casket burial, cremation, donating to science, etc. This s end like the perfect harmonious reconnection with Earth, and a sustainable end to a sustainable life.
-Please if you have any info regarding how to go about arranging to donate my physical remains in death to an Endangered large Carnivorous Species, please reply to this comment? Thanks so much!


Reply
Bob Cratchett
12 Jul 2018

Since you mentioned N American animals I will assume you live in the USA. At current time it would be illegal to feed human remains to any animal anywhere in the US. In fact if an animal was found to have fed on human remains it would be "put down". Multiple reason exist for these laws, for one there are numerous diseases that health care professionals would not wish to see spread through wildlife, but there is also the danger of any animal feeding on human remains acquiring a taste for human flesh.

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joy
3 Years Ago

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joy
3 Years Ago

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joy
3 Years Ago

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joy
3 Years Ago

Hello" thank God for the wonderful healing spell power which Dr wiseone render to my life which oracle support, i was been diagnosed with HIV-AIDS over 7years now which has lead me to unemployment and loosing my relationship with my fiance after he heard that i am suffering from the VIRUS, i tried begging him to allow me stays with him, but he still insist on letting me out of his home, until a friend of mine on Facebook from SOUTH AFRICA told me more about Dr wiseone the great healer, that he is going to help restore and healed my diseased with his powerful healing spell, she send me of Dr wiseone email address and i quickly contacted him, and he replied to after 30mins of my message that my disease is a little and minor disease, that he will solved the disease immediately only if i can accept all he requested from, i told him yes, because truly i know that " HIV-AIDS IS A WICKED AND DEADLY DISEASE I EVER KNOWS ". so i did all he want from me and surprisingly on Friday last week Dr wiseone called me that my problems is solved that i should hurry up to the hospital for a checkup, which i truly really did, i confirm from my doctor that i am now NEGATIVE AND NOT LONG +, I jump up and was crying heavily because truly the disease drive alot of things away from my life, my friends, my cousin, my finance and relatives, but now since i was confirm NEGATIVE- my lost friends and finance has been back to me begging for forgiveness, i have forgiven them and now we are now best of friend. again i will say to Dr wiseone that he is blessed and may the almighty God which i serve raise him and his family to the higher level in life. Thank and god bless. Please email Dr wiseone for healing and solution now at = [email protected] or call on his phone number +2349033359703


Reply
joy
3 Years Ago

Hello" thank God for the wonderful healing spell power which Dr wiseone render to my life which oracle support, i was been diagnosed with HIV-AIDS over 7years now which has lead me to unemployment and loosing my relationship with my fiance after he heard that i am suffering from the VIRUS, i tried begging him to allow me stays with him, but he still insist on letting me out of his home, until a friend of mine on Facebook from SOUTH AFRICA told me more about Dr wiseone the great healer, that he is going to help restore and healed my diseased with his powerful healing spell, she send me of Dr wiseone email address and i quickly contacted him, and he replied to after 30mins of my message that my disease is a little and minor disease, that he will solved the disease immediately only if i can accept all he requested from, i told him yes, because truly i know that " HIV-AIDS IS A WICKED AND DEADLY DISEASE I EVER KNOWS ". so i did all he want from me and surprisingly on Friday last week Dr wiseone called me that my problems is solved that i should hurry up to the hospital for a checkup, which i truly really did, i confirm from my doctor that i am now NEGATIVE AND NOT LONG +, I jump up and was crying heavily because truly the disease drive alot of things away from my life, my friends, my cousin, my finance and relatives, but now since i was confirm NEGATIVE- my lost friends and finance has been back to me begging for forgiveness, i have forgiven them and now we are now best of friend. again i will say to Dr wiseone that he is blessed and may the almighty God which i serve raise him and his family to the higher level in life. Thank and god bless. Please email Dr wiseone for healing and solution now at = [email protected] or call on his phone number +2349033359703


Reply
joy
3 Years Ago

Hello" thank God for the wonderful healing spell power which Dr wiseone render to my life which oracle support, i was been diagnosed with HIV-AIDS over 7years now which has lead me to unemployment and loosing my relationship with my fiance after he heard that i am suffering from the VIRUS, i tried begging him to allow me stays with him, but he still insist on letting me out of his home, until a friend of mine on Facebook from SOUTH AFRICA told me more about Dr wiseone the great healer, that he is going to help restore and healed my diseased with his powerful healing spell, she send me of Dr wiseone email address and i quickly contacted him, and he replied to after 30mins of my message that my disease is a little and minor disease, that he will solved the disease immediately only if i can accept all he requested from, i told him yes, because truly i know that " HIV-AIDS IS A WICKED AND DEADLY DISEASE I EVER KNOWS ". so i did all he want from me and surprisingly on Friday last week Dr wiseone called me that my problems is solved that i should hurry up to the hospital for a checkup, which i truly really did, i confirm from my doctor that i am now NEGATIVE AND NOT LONG +, I jump up and was crying heavily because truly the disease drive alot of things away from my life, my friends, my cousin, my finance and relatives, but now since i was confirm NEGATIVE- my lost friends and finance has been back to me begging for forgiveness, i have forgiven them and now we are now best of friend. again i will say to Dr wiseone that he is blessed and may the almighty God which i serve raise him and his family to the higher level in life. Thank and god bless. Please email Dr wiseone for healing and solution now at = [email protected] or call on his phone number +2349033359703


Reply


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