Humans vs. predators


As far as I know, no one is currently sure of the history of chronic wasting disease (“Weighing the risks”). One theory is that it has been around for many millennia, but was controlled by predators like wolves, mountain lions and bears eating the ungulates that were less able to escape them. So predators removed sick animals from the herds long before humans could notice symptoms. The reason there are fewer predators now is that we have poisoned, trapped and shot them, and we continue to do so. We do some of this to protect domestic stock. We also do it to preserve wild game animals so hunters can shoot them. And because we are careless with our garbage, which draws bears to the places we live, we also kill them to protect our property and ourselves. Hunters may thin herds, but they have a tendency to want trophy animals. Understandably, they don’t want one with CWD. So hunting is a poor way to control this disease, especially compared to wild predation. We may discover that we are killing the very wildlife that kept hunters and their families safe from CWD.

Nancy Stocker
Denver, Colorado

High Country News Classifieds