All around us, you find people who land on every point of the spectrum. We see those who venerate the environment, those who put an appreciable amount of effort into caring for it, those who put in minor effort, and those who have no regard for the surrounding land. Nature is clamoring for more people who are passionate about serving the environment, including conservation efforts, property rights, wildlife population management, and stewarding resources. As humans commercialize the planet, tension between people and wildlife is ameliorated. The goal of wildlife management is to ensure that wildlife populations are stable or increasing, maintaining consistent hunting and fishing availability, and protecting the rights of animals.
Wildlife management encompasses several principles from economic development and costs to keeping wildlife populations at bay. It’s necessary that organizations find a utilitarian balance between economic development decisions and free consumption of natural resources so that both humans and wildlife are considered. In working towards economic development, the cost of commercialization plus safety risk to nearby families are a part of the equation. In regards to fishing, local communities need to partner with a variety of agencies to curb illegal fishing and poaching. This allows individuals with the appropriate rights to reap the benefit.. Finally, it’s crucial that population management takes into account the geographical area involved, such as north Texas deer hunting, so that a species does not decrease to an unhealthy level.
In regards to population management, humans have been hunting and trapping for an extensive amount of time. This was the way in which people provided the necessities for their communities. In today’s world, the heritage continues where we see a generation of both men and women who enjoy numerous hunting seasons.
Changes in wildlife populations are not only observed by hunters and gatherers, but also by organizations and agencies whose purpose is to pay close attention to subtle alterations in the environment. Synonymous to humans, wildlife are sensitive to changes in the environment, therefore we can appreciate a significant amount of information by taking notice. This information clues us in to how we are affecting animals, and potentially, how we may be affected by the changes as well.
Now that you understand basic principles and the “why” of wildlife management, it’s time to move on to the necessary ingredients or the “how to” of environmental care. What are the necessary components of a competent wildlife manager? First and foremost, they need to understand the elements that precipitate healthy wildlife populations.
Similar to the way in which a human’s environment can influence their ability to maintain homeostasis, or a state of internal equilibrium, an animal’s habitat plays a large role in its well-being. Food, water, air, shelter, and an open space to live are five key ingredients in the life of both humans and wildlife. Not only is the presence of these five ingredients important, but it’s crucial that they exist in appropriate ratios. If any of these components are lacking, it may inhibit the flourishing of an animal species, therefore it becomes the limiting factor.
Another term relating to wildlife management is carrying capacity. Defined as the number of animals that can live in a specific region within a one year time span without damaging the environment or causing starvation, carrying capacity demands the attention of the wildlife manager. If there are too many animals in a geographical area, they will deplete the available resources, leaving the environment in a depleted state. On the other hand, if resources are lacking in an area, weaker animals will face opponents such as starvation and disease as well as an inability to ward off predators. In other situations, natural disasters may ruin habitat, ruining food and shelter.
A wildlife manager needs to have a developed understanding of factors that lead to the oscillation of birth and death rates. Factors that affect death rate include climate extremes, development of land, diseases, parasites, etc. Each year, the factors that influence death rates play a role in creating a cyclical rhythm of nature. Many variables play into this cycle, especially the occurrence of different seasons, gestation periods, resource availability, etc. The wildlife manager works to create an environment in which the animal population is somewhat controlled. This allows for the carrying capacity to find a happy medium. At the same time, they also need to have a general understanding of the health of the ecosystem..
Hunting and trapping still remains one of the most successful ways to control wildlife populations, especially because of the boundaries put in place. These regulations maintain the well-being of wildlife populations, protect the habitat, and keep populations within carrying capacity. Other common methods used to gain knowledge on the fluctuance of wildlife populations are research and harvest surveys.
The health of a human being is dependent upon how well it is managed. Similarly, the future and prosperity of wildlife relies upon how well it is controlled. Not only are management programs responsible for wildlife health, but other people are as well. It requires effort from the entire community. Support local wildlife and conservation agencies and don’t be afraid to educate yourself and others about the surrounding world.