There are so many debates. There is so much misinformation. From Congress to ranchers to the new battle brewing over re-opening horse slaughterhouses, it seems that the overall subject of wildlife management and control is constantly in the news and under scrutiny. Therefore, a look at the basics – the core reason why wildlife managers are doing an excellent, although burdensome job – should be reviewed.
The core of wildlife management is to balance the needs of wildlife with the needs of people. This is not an easy task. Urbanization, industrialization, conservation – the wildlife manager has to take all different topics into account when making decisions to best help the animal, mammal and human populations; not to mention native plantlife, crops, woodlands, swamplands and so much more.
For those who wonder what’s right, you should first know how important it is to the wildlife managers to do their job well. They’re not looking to harm a species or habitat. Their job, which they do extremely well, is to protect that habitat and that species, while making sure that people and livestock are safe.
Wildlife management is a complex machine that combines chemistry, biology, ecology, climate change, geographical patterns, other demographics and plain old common sense. Which means only the most knowledgeable, reliable and intelligent people need apply.
One area is wildlife conservation. The manager takes into consideration all ecological needs and environmental conditions, from hydration to soil to climate. They improve the planet with reforestation, irrigation and everything in between.
Being a game keeper is part of the wildlife manager’s job. They control species, as well as make sure predators do not overrun prey. Game is introduced into certain areas where needed, and hunting and trapping practices are used (among other processes) to make sure that nothing gets out of control that can cause harm.
Wildlife management is broken down into two main types: Manipulative and Custodial. Manipulative means changing the earth, land, or number of species overrunning the land by altering food supply, habitat, density of predators, harvest techniques and more.
Preventing or protecting a habitat in need is what’s called custodial management. The wildlife manager sets a plan that will minimize human/external changes to the herds, crops, or overall habitats.
Although hunting is seen as a negative by some, it remains true that hunting is a way to care for a habitat. When predators outnumber prey, the habitat will eventually fail. The world needs balance in order to be healthy. And what most do not remember is the fact that hunters are actually the largest group of environmentalists. They stand by rules and regulations set in place long ago. From seasons to bag limits to restrictions, hunters are avid about sustaining overall health. And their money for licenses, tags, etc., is what helps states maintain the health and welfare of land, rivers, streams, lakes, vegetation and wildlife.
The examples are many. But to choose one; it was not too long ago (1960s) that a majority of this nation’s water sources were unfit for swimming, fishing or drinking. Air pollution and smog had caused huge damage on human and wildlife health. Development had destroyed large habitats, and toxic pesticides were killing wildlife and threatening human health. Plans were put in place by the wildlife managers, states and government to aid and protect. Water quality legislation and regulations arrived, wildlife managers focused on wetlands and areas adjacent to streams and rivers – and all of their hard work brought back clean water that sustained healthy fish and rejuvenated the entire habitat.
There are a myriad of Acts and laws in place. Whether you are on one side or the other regarding an issue, always keep in mind that wildlife management is a balancing act. These are the people with a clear focus on keeping both animal and human alive and well.
The earth is an invaluable resource; knowledgeable and skilled wildlife managers want to keep it that way.