Managing overpopulation, starvation and mass die-offs in the absence of natural predators
Native wildlife face challenges finding resources in places overrun by excess feral animals. In this new short film, Wildlife Society offers a look into the problems for native wildlife when feral horse and burro populations exceed ecologically sustainable levels.
The film follows ecologist Charles Post on a mission across the American West to better understand how these horses and burros are affecting native wildlife and vegetation communities.
Feral horses and burros are non-native species in North America and can damage wildlife habitats when their populations exceed ecologically sustainable levels. The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service are tasked with managing wild horses and burros in designated areas to sustain a “thriving natural ecological balance,” but there are currently more than 3-times the target population of feral horses and burros on public lands.
Faced with heightened public concern – and a complex network of legal directives – agency professionals charged with managing expanding feral horse and burro populations have relatively few options to control the resulting overpopulation.
A similarity with the Oostvaardersplassen Reserve in the Netherlands: in the absence of natural predators, land managers need to look for other options to control the resulting large herbivore overpopulation, with cycles of peak densities and destruction of vegetation followed by starvation – leading to animal welfare concerns – and mass die-offs.
The horse is one of the species most represented in cave art during the Paleolithic in the southwest of Europe. These representations show an equine with phenotypical characteristics close to two present-day species which are generally considered as ancient horses:...
The wild Pottaka horses are distinctive characters in the large wildlife reserve of Anciles, Valle del Bisonte. The sun shines everyday now, and the temperature rises. For a wild animal it is important to stay healthy. Not only internally but also on the outside of...
Activities such as laying gas pipelines, trawling for fish, drilling for oil, and even burying internet cables in the deep sea, are destroying marine ecosystems. But studies have shown that reintroducing seaweed and corals to these habitats could ward off the worst...