News / Science & Technology

Decline of Large Predators Could Have Ripple Effects for Wider Environment

File - A leopard yawns inside its enclosure at the Madrid Zoo July 23, 2013.
File - A leopard yawns inside its enclosure at the Madrid Zoo July 23, 2013.

Related Articles

Civilian Drones Raise Hopes, Questions in Africa

Engineers and entrepreneurs say unmanned aerial vehicles could do so much more than just track the bad guys

China Destroys 6 Tons of Illegal Ivory

Environmental activists say public destruction sends powerful message to would-be smugglers, consumers that such trade will no longer be tolerated
VOA News
Falling numbers of apex predators like wolves and mountain lions might be good news for the animals those carnivores prey on. But the resulting growth in populations of those carnivores eat has a negative impact on the wider environment.

More than 75 percent of the world’s large carnivores are declining, according to a new study.

“Globally, we are losing our large carnivores,” said William Ripple, lead author of the paper and a professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University in a statement. “Many of them are endangered. Their ranges are collapsing. Many of these animals are at risk of extinction, either locally or globally.”

Large carnivores have largely been eliminated from the developed world, and Southeast Asia, southern and East Africa and the Amazon basin were areas seeing a decline in the species. And the effects of the losses could have wider ramifications.

“Ironically, they are vanishing just as we are learning about their important ecological effects,” added Ripple.

According to the Oregon State announcement, researchers documented the impact of cougars and wolves on the regeneration of forests and other flora around streams and rivers in Yellowstone National Park. The decline of predators led to an increase in “browsing animals such as deer and elk,” which leads to a “disruption of vegetation as well as “shifting” birds and other small mammals.

Similar effects have been seen in other areas where the Eurasian lynx, dingoes, lions and sea otters have been in decline, according to the research.  A lack of lynx has led to more roe deer, red fox and hare. The decline of lions and leopards led to an increase in olive baboons, which pose a threat to agriculture. In the waters off southeast Alaska, the loss of sea otters resulted a rise in sea urchins and the loss of kelp beds

There is hope, however, according to study. The researchers found that in some cases where large predators are reintroduced, such as the wolf restoration in Yellowstone, ecosystems show signs of recovery.

“I am impressed with how resilient the Yellowstone ecosystem is,” Ripple said. “It isn’t happening quickly everywhere, but in some places, ecosystem restoration has started there.”

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs