Song: "Be Wild Or Be Dead"
Album: "2008 - Last Recordings Before My ...
Song: "Be Wild Or Be Dead"
Album: "2008 - Last Recordings Before My Suicide" -
Exploitation of wild populations has been a characteristic of modern man since our exodus from Africa 130,000 -- 70,000 years ago. The rate of extinctions of entire species of plants and animals across the planet has been so high in the last few hundred years it is widely considered that we are in the sixth great extinction event on this planet; the Holocene Mass Extinction.
Destruction of wildlife does not always lead to an extinction of the species in question, however, the dramatic loss of entire species across Earth dominates any review of wildlife destruction as extinction is the level of damage to a wild population from which there is no return.
The four most general reasons that lead to destruction of wildlife include overkill, habitat destruction and fragmentation, impact of introduced species and chains of extinction.
Overkill occurs whenever hunting occurs at rate greater than the reproductive capacity of the population is being exploited. The effects of this are often noticed much more dramatically in slow growing populations such as many larger species of fish. Initially when a portion of a wild population is hunted, an increased availability of resources (food, etc) is experienced increasing growth and reproduction as Density dependent inhibition is lowered. Hunting, fishing and so on, has lowered the competition between members of a population. However, if this hunting continues at rate greater than the rate at which new members of the population can reach breeding age and produce more young, the population will begin to decrease in numbers.
Habitat destruction and fragmentation:
The habitat of any given species is considered its preferred area or territory. Many processes associated human habitation of an area cause loss of this area and the decrease the carrying capacity of the land for that species. In many cases these changes in land use cause a patchy break-up of the wild landscape. Agricultural land frequently displays this type of extremely fragmented, or relictual, habitat. Farms sprawl across the landscape with patches of uncleared woodland or forest dotted in-between occasional paddocks.
Impact of introduced species:
Mouse, kitten, rabbits, dandelions and poison ivy are all examples of species that have become invasive threats to wild species in various parts of the world. Frequently species that are uncommon in their home range become out of control invasions in distant but similar climates. The reasons for this have not always been clear and Charles Darwin felt it was unlikely that exotic species would ever be able to grow abundantly in a place they had not evolved in. The reality is that the vast majority of species exposed to a new habitat do not reproduce successfully. However occasionally some populations do take hold and after a period of acclimation can increase in numbers significantly having destructive effects on many elements of the native environment they have become part of.
Chains of extinction:
This final group is one of secondary effects. All wild populations of living things have many complex intertwining links with other living things around them. Large herbivorous animals such as the hippopotamus have populations of insectivorous birds that feed off the many parasitic insects that grow on the hippo. Should the hippo die out so to will these groups of birds, leading to further destruction as other species dependent on the birds are affected. Also referred to as a Domino effect, this series of chain reactions is by far the most destructive process that can occur in any ecological community.