Preserving large carnivores in ecosystem requires multifaceted approach

Carnivore management is not just a numbers game, wildlife scientists assert in response to an article in the Jan. 10 issue of the journal Science that urged “minimum densities be maintained for persistence of carnivores, biodiversity, and structure.”

“This type of may fail in social carnivore species,” said Kathleen , an associate professor of fisheries and in the and Environment. “Predator management is incredibly complex and we need to be extremely cautious in applying blanket approaches which rely on securing some target number or density of in an ecosystem.”

The research-based argument appears in a letter in the March 14 issue of Science and an article abstract in the October 2013 issue of the journal .

“Life history strategy, including number of offspring, lifespan, diet, and behavior that evolves from ecological pressures of the species in question should also guide management approaches,” wrote and Claire E. Sanderson, a in fisheries and wildlife conservation, in the Science letter.

The research published in Population Ecology evaluated 45 solitary and social medium and large carnivore species and their key life history attributes, population trends, and identified the presence of factors that increase the potential for extinction.

Disturbingly, 73 percent of carnivore species — both social and solitary — were declining, observed Sanderson, Sarah Jobbins, also a postdoctoral associate, and Alexander.

“Social appeared to be particularly vulnerable with 45 percent threatened by infectious disease but only 3 percent of solitary carnivores similarly impacted,” they report. “In this, increased contact between individuals, disease-related mortality, and loss of individuals below some critical threshold seems to be the issue, pushing social carnivores closer to the brink of extinction.”

Reporting on their research on social carnivores, Sanderson, Jobbins, and said in the article, “Highly cohesive social species, like African wild dog, require strict participation from all group members … in all areas of life, including predator avoidance, reproductive success, hunting, and survivorship. This life-history strategy can result in enhanced fitness benefits for the group, but also a higher critical threshold for extinction.”

“The number of individuals in the group then becomes the critical factor influencing population persistence,” said Sanderson.

For example, rabies and distemper have caused local extinction of African wild dog in regions of Africa. Even in a large population, transmission of an infectious disease from only a few infected individuals can result in sufficient mortality to push groups below a critical threshold, ultimately threatening population persistence, the researchers report.

It has been found in certain ecosystems that when wild dog packs are reduced to less than four individuals, they may be unable to rear pups because of trade-offs between specialized roles, such as pup guarding and hunting.

“While aggregation of conspecifics may be beneficial for reproduction, hunting,

… Continue reading here.
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Comments

    • Sugar Pink Pie
    • March 17, 2014

    laughed so much at 00:35 xD

    • Yağmur Türmeli
    • March 17, 2014

    1:20 sooo funny….

    • Honza1280
    • March 17, 2014

    Funny and lovely

    • stijn de hulk
    • March 17, 2014

    cool
    

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