Are predators wanton killers?

| December 18, 2013 | Reply

Many people still have negative attitudes towards predators like Pumas, Wolves or even many eagle species. For example there is still a lot of illegal poisoning of eagles and other raptors in places like Austria, Scotland, Spain or Germany affecting rare and endangered species like the Eastern Imperial Eagle, Spanish Imperial Eagle, White-tailed Eagle and others.

In North America there is still a lot of persecution of predators like Coyotes or Red Foxes. Red Foxes are also killed in great numbers in Germany and many smaller species like Pine Martens (Europe) are also killed.

Others are subject to sport hunting like Pumas (and now again Wolves in some states in the US).

Many people still hate and fear carnivores and think the only good carnivore is a dead one. It is true that some species kill humans (e.g. Tigers, Lions) but with most species this is extremely rare (Pumas, Wolves, Grizzlies) or completely absent like with the smaller carnivores (rabies might be an exception).

But are predators wanton, bloodthirsty killers?

Of course not. As ecologist and Puma biologist  John Laundré  brilliantly argues in his article Who are the Wanton Killers? , this does not make any sense from an evolutionary point of view. And of course this is the best explanation as nothing in biology makes any sense without also looking at it from an evolutionary point of view. If predators enjoyed killing and killed anything that they can find just for the fun of it, they would have gone extinct a long time ago. They only kill when they need food for themselves or for their young.

Unfortunately many people still don’t understand the ecology of predators and keep their uninformed view. The article by John Laundré is perfectly written and has sound arguments for the conservation of predators instead of their ongoing persecution.

It is understandable that a poor farmer in Africa hates Lions when they kill some or all of his livestock and his very survival is threatened by his loss but many people who hate predators in North America or Europe just hate predators because predators hunt the animals the humans hunters want to hunt for themselves (mostly for fun). In that case the conservation of a species and it’s ecological role should be more important than the fun of a minority.

More information:
Who are the Wanton Killers?

Category: conservation, general

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