Predators are animals which hunt and kill other animals in a particular ecosystem for their food. The northern American predators: mountain lions, coyotes, river otters and badgers play a direct and indirect pivotal role in the ecosystems of the biomes they thrive in.
These consumers control the population of the herbivores they feed on. By doing so, they regulate the number of the herbivores feeding on plant species thus safeguarding the vegetation from overgrazing and hence protecting the natural species of plants in these biomes. Therefore, when vegetation life is maintained, the abodes of many living organisms are also protected. This will prevent undesirable migration of some of the animals in the ecosystem.1 For example, due to unavailability of trees to build nests, birds which initially lived in the ecosystem may migrate to other favorable zones, causing an ecological imbalance. Furthermore, when the wolves attack the coyotes and feed on them, they protect other animals such as pronghorn antelopes.
Also, these predators increase the quality growth of plants species in the ecosystem. How? These animals produce wastes which they dispose on the soils of the biome and therefore, these wastes are attributed to contain certain nutrients necessary for seed germination and plant growth.2 For example, the River Otter’s wastes are deemed nitrogenous thus they aid in nitrogen cycle which is a necessity for the growth of plants and formation of plant proteins.
Besides, these animals have promoted general diversity of the species. According to the research, it has been concluded that the number of aquatics is directly proportional to the number of some of these predators.3 For example, it has been found that where there is a large number of mountain lions, a large number of native fish also exist. Besides, where there has been reduction of mountain lions, cottonwood tree species have also been reduced.2 This can be pointed out to fact that these predators drive a key function in shielding the terrestrial and aquatic lives.
Moreover, when predators indirectly secure soil from erosion. This is attributed to their role of keeping vegetation intact.4 When there is a thick cover of vegetation, the soils are kept compact and sheltered and therefore, they cannot be easily eroded. Regarding this, these predators contribute to fertility and position of soil in accommodating plant species life.
As well, the animals are iconic and attractive for adventurous people in the world. This suggests that they are the pillar of tourism and the economy of America. People pay to see these animals for their prestigious and adventurous purposes.5 Hence, money summed up through this tourism activity boost immensely the state of economy and reputation of the country. Thus, these animals are principally crucial to the countries’ development.
Finally, some of them are sources of shelters to some of the ground-based animals. This is because some of the predators dig holes as they prey. The resultants holes become the habitat to some of the animals such as lizards and moles.2 Through the formation of these holes, soil aeration is accomplished in conjunction with moisture conservation and nutrient mixture. These roles specifically can be nailed to badger as it digs holes during its predation.
In a nutshell, we must protect these predators’ species from extermination as they are attributed to the great stability of an ecosystem. Eliminating these predators risks the fate of a tremendous ecosystem. Animals and plants in an ecosystem are dependent on each other.2 This implies that they work hand in hand to constantly keep their ecosystem at equilibrium.
To conclude, northern American predators deserve maximum protection from the US department of agriculture's wildlife service as they are core players in the ecology and economy of the country.
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- Estes J. Predators, Ecological role. 2016:200.
- Waage M. The Ecological Importance. ecological. 2015;1(202).
- Byrne AW, Byrne AW, Sleeman DP, Keeffe JO, Davenport J. THE ECOLOGY OF THE EUROPEAN BADGER ( MELES MELES ) IN IRELAND : A REVIEW. Ecology. 2012;132(April):52. DOI:10.3318/BIOE.2012.02
- Glen AS, Dickman CR. The importance of predators. Ecology. 2016;2(November 2014).
- Valkenburgh B Van, Angeles L. The decline of North American predators during the late Pleistocene. economy. 2015;(January 1998).