12 Apr '12, 6pm

Deer Populations Spiral Out of Control as Wolf and Bear Numbers Decline

Deer Populations Spiral Out of Control as Wolf and Bear Numbers Decline

Towns, cities, suburbs, and rural areas all have at least one thing in common: An over abundance of deer and other large herbivores. The free-ranging herds cross busy traffic lanes, eat from gardens, and spread disease—among other things. But what can be done to control them? The answer, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University, is to cultivate healthy predator populations. Yes, this includes reintroducing wolves. The researchers found that "there's consistent evidence that large predators help keep populations of large herbivores in check, with positive effects on ecosystem health." Densities of large herbivores—like deer and moose—were six times greater in areas without wolf populations. In addition, they found that combinations of predators—like wolves and bears—had a greater benefit by allowing the species to work together to cultiva...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/deer-populatio...

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