Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection


Date of this Version

March 1972


A veritable storm of concern for wildlife - approaching biotechnology - is currently sweeping the nation. Some of this concern has a sound basis. But the very best of ideas and programs can be carried so far that they become irrational. We appear to be driving head-on into irrational actions with respect to environmental good housekeeping. The vegetative cover in the United States has changed markedly as the result of Man's occupancy, reducing the habitat on which some wildlife species depend and greatly enhancing that of others. Competition, a no-holds-barred struggle, continues unabated between all living things for the finite amount of energy and space this globe provides. The problem areas for man are thus constantly shifting. Let us not delude ourselves that we have achieved anything more than a stand-off. The new "fronts" in the management of populations of vertebrates are no less vital to man's welfare than those times when our first concern was for animals too big for us to cope with bare-handed or so numerous they overwhelmed our efforts. Typical of the irrational approach to solving environmental problems is the objection to management, per se - a "leave Nature to her own devices" philosophy. Anyone engaged professionally in bird, rodent or predator control is looked down upon by the academic biologist and bears numerous scars from encounters with textbook ecologists and environmental activists. Chemicals as tools for manipulating the plant composition or the populations of animals are in marked disfavor. There is but one interpretation - too many people are speaking outside their field of competence. Extremists attract the press, and politicians are susceptible to the publicity generated.