Friday, August 21, 2015

"The human 'superpredator' is unique -- and unsustainable, study says"

A coastal wolf hunts salmon in Canada. A new study finds that humans are a "superpredator" that puts serious hunting pressure on fish and land-based carnivores.
(Guillaume Mazille)
"If you’re looking for the world’s top 'superpredator,' look no further than your own reflection.

"A new study that examined more than 2,000 predator-prey interactions in populations around the globe has found that humans don’t only kill top carnivores at a rate far higher than all other top predators combined, but that our particular hunting behaviors are so devastating to species on land and sea that they challenge these populations’ ability to recover -- and in some cases could alter the course of their evolution.

"'Ultimately, humanity is feeling the impacts of our predatory dominance,' said lead author Chris Darimont, a conservation scientist at the University of Victoria.
"The findings, published in the journal Science, reveal the extent of the damage wrought by human hunting and fishing practices, and reveal that there might be hope for recovery -- if we learn better practices from the same carnivores that we are hunting down.

"'We have the unusual ability to analyze and consciously adjust our behavior to minimize deleterious consequences,' Boris Worm of Dalhousie University, who was not involved in the paper, wrote in a commentary. 'This final point, I believe, will prove critical for our continued coexistence with viable wildlife population on land and in the sea.'

"Many of the world’s large fish and land-based top predators -- your lions, your tigers, your bears -- have been on the decline for years, and it’s thought that humans have had a major hand in their downfall. Hunting, along with climate change and human habitat encroachment, all likely play a role."

Read more:

Killing is what we do best.

No comments: