Bushmeat hunting may be hurting the balance of the natural ecosystem and destroying food security for nations around the world.
New numbers are in from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and a research study performed by William Ripple of Oregon State University appears in Royal Society Open Science and suggests hunting is outpacing reproduction for several species and could be driving up to 301 mammals to extinction.
“Our analysis is conservative,” Ripple said. “These 301 species are the worst cases of declining mammal populations for which hunting and trapping are clearly identified as a major threat. If data for a species were missing or inconclusive, we didn't include it.”
“Our goal is to raise awareness of this global crisis. Many of these animals are at the brink of extinction,” he continued. “The illegal smuggling in wildlife and wildlife products is run by dangerous international networks and ranks among trafficking in arms, human beings and drugs in terms of profits.”
Among those, bats, chimpanzees, primates, ungulates, and far more. While hunting a number of the species affected is illegal, others are simply unregulated.
Both illegal hunting and the failure to act to conserve certain species are driving those animal species to dangerously low population numbers that experts aren’t sure rebounding will be possible from. Very courageous changes will have to be made if this is to be reversed.
Because so many people of international nations are reliant on bushmeat to survive, this scare poses a threat to not only their survival, but also to their food security in the future.
The wild forests are becoming less crowded as the animals fail to reproduce as quickly as they’re being hunted to sustain world hunger.
Other challenges also exist. If a number of species disappear from the face of the Earth due to extinction, we might find ourselves with an overpopulation of prey animals and not enough predators to keep an ecological balance.
We’re playing Russian Roulette with our ecology, and unless something is done about it, we could face major international food problems in the future.
Source: The Guardian