Friday, August 19, 2005

Can you imagine cheetahs in the Kane County Forest Preserves? There was an article about introducing predators to the wild in America.
Their disappearance left glaring gaps in the complex web of interactions, upon which a healthy ecosystem depends. The pronghorn, for example, has lost its natural predator and only its startling speed - of up to about 60mph - hints at its now forgotten foe.
The article neglects to mention that man has replaced the predators. Why have cheetahs when we have hunters? It reminded me of how people can forget the tradeoffs when it comes to protecting predator species. In India alone, tigers have eaten hundreds of thousands of people over the centuries. Individual tigers have been known to kill and eat 200 people. An adult tiger can eat as much as 10,000 lbs of meat a year. One tiger can wipe out an entire endangered species. In many areas of the world, the quantity of meat an average tiger eats in a year can provide a year of food security for an entire village.

Read the article.


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