Loss of Large Predators Has Caused Widespread Disruption of Ecosystems

“Loss of apex consumers is arguably humankind’s most pervasive influence on the natural world.”

Loss of Large Predators Has Caused Widespread Disruption of Ecosystems. ScienceDaily






  1. CodyCoyote Avatar

    I’ve seen several versions of this story . The study really is quite comprehensive , and was heavily peer reviewed.

    I certainly am having trouble locally to get people to realize that wolves, grizzlies, and cougars are essential , in healthy numbers.

    FWIW—- sent this article to Toby Bridges. With the notation of ” just throwing some fat on your eternal fire…”. Missoula is sizzling.

  2. Linda Jo Hunter Avatar

    as I explained to someone it is like the land needs a healthy diet of all it’s nutrients and animals of all kinds just like a human body needs a wide spectrum of vitamins. I am afraid that humans will realize that the predators are important when the earth is already too sick and humans have started to starve it from the bottom up as well with big bio fuel plants and more bug spray.

  3. JB Avatar

    Wait a minute, Joel Berger (the wolf-lover) is a co-author on this paper! I guess that means we can dismiss the paper’s conclusions as self-serving and biased off-hand, eh WM? 😉

    1. WM Avatar

      ++that means we can dismiss the paper’s conclusions as self-serving and biased off-hand, eh WM? ++

      LOL. Not at all. The findings should be heeded and reviewed. Disclosure of affiliation and areas of research, and interests of the authors are always good, especially those that take advocacy positions. This paper has 24 authors (affiliations duly noted in the abstract/paper). Bill Ripple and Michael Soule are among the authors. Berger is a mammal guy, too.

      There is the obligatory “These findings emphasize the urgent need for interdisciplinary research to forecast the effects of trophic downgrading on process, function, and resilience in global ecosystems” to continue funding for their work and respective livelihoods.

      Future research is, no doubt, justified (seriously).

      1. WM Avatar

        Sorry, “Berger is a(N) UNGULATE guy, too.”

  4. Jon Way Avatar

    Yet all 3 of the western states want to severely reduce wolf numbers effectively immediately upon delisting. Gee, that makes sense especially with the recent article on all the livestock that they DON’T kill….

  5. Wolfy Avatar

    Great study. Unfortunately, you cannot “educate” those that already have a strong bias. Dazzling the politicos, ranchers, and gov’t managers with great studies on the benefits of having predators does not work. Somehow, in the last couple decades or so, Conservation became synonymous with Conservative; environmentalists began using science instead of raw emotion; and conservatives started using scare tactics and fear-mongering instead of science. So arguing scientific facts with the conservatives will gain nothing. Change will only happen when the funding shifts from current the welfare state-sponsored predator control programs ran by Big Ag to true conservation projects (land acquisition, protection corridors, and strong enforcement).

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      Conservative and conservation should be related. Both, in principle, want to keep and maintain the best and not implement massive projects, whether they are social or environmental unless they are thoroughly tested, including side effects. In other words, don’t decide to fix something unless it is broken and you know the way to fix it.

      Unfortunately, what passes as conservatism today is just the opposite. It is emotional reactionary. This false conservatism proposes untested, emotion-based , coercive and massive measures that weaken long standing social institutions in order to favor a few kinds of religions and social institutions — corporate business.

      What could be more radical that threatening to default on the U.S. public debt, a basic foundation of the international economic system, in order to what? Is the goal weaken Obama? Is it to destroy medicare? Is it to reduce regulations on business? Is it to elect a Republican in 2012? Is to force women back into the roles they supposedly occupied in 1950?

      A worst case outcome could be the destruction of the international economy. Is that conservative?

      1. JB Avatar

        Republican leader says GOP’s number one goal is defeating Obama in 2012

        NOT strengthening the economy? NOT guarding against terrorists? NOT reducing the size of government?



        1. Immer Treue Avatar
          Immer Treue


          This was one of the first things out of Mitch McConnell’s mouth after last years election.

        2. william huard Avatar
          william huard

          Meanwhile in the House:
          Good ole Republoman- Repels facts, impervious to reason…..
          Why would we be concerned if Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rick Perry, and rick scott had the ability to manage their water resources….

  6. Phil Avatar

    I do not think that a healthy predator/prey balance is foremost on the minds of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. I believe a large prey population (one that is over carrying-capacity) is more idealistic in their interests than one of a healthy ecosystem. To have a reduction in predator population to what humans (in that area) want instead of what the ecosystems is capable of sustaining will create problems in the areas.

    The reports say that the elk population has declined in the summer months since the presence of wolves. Some biologists, including Christina Einsberg (Yellowstone Biologist) believe the decrease in population was one that is needed because the elk population was over carrying-capacity in the park. Doug Smith, Daniel Stahler (NPS Wolf Biologist), and John Vucetich did a research a few years ago and concluded that the elk population would have dropped by 7.9% by 2004 even without the presence of wolves. That tells me that the direct cause of the decline, without wolves being a factor in it, is the lack of space and food in the park that is caused by an over-crowding in population.


    1. Phil Avatar

      My apologies, when referring to reports in the first sentence of my second paragraph I should have stated that the reports were for the elk population in Yellowstone National Park.

      1. mikarooni Avatar

        A number of “people” have decried the severe reduction and probable elimination of the so-called “Firehole” herd. According to these “authorities” and their supporters, the losses in this particular herd must be attributable to wolves since, again according to them, this herd does not migrate out of the Park and is thus not subject to hunting. However, the west side of the Park has, over the past few years been subject to alternating bouts of unusual heat and drought and, only a few years ago, an extreme snowfall. Do you or does anyone have any information on whether this weather, particularly the heavy snowfall could have been a factor. I can remember heavy snow winters long ago when the carcasses melted out of the layers of snow like it was chocolate chip ice cream and the elk were the chips. Some of the canyons on the west side would not be easy places to get out of if you were surprised and trapped by a few days of sudden heavy snow.

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