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Cautionary Wildlife Tales

Cautionary Wildlife Tales

Learning to Fail or Failing to Learn?

Chapter:
(p.113) 7 Cautionary Wildlife Tales
Source:
Ignoring Nature No More
Author(s):
Joel Berger
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226925363.003.0007

This chapter discusses how we fail to learn from past mistakes when we ignore complex relationships among various species, in this case interactions between grazing sheep, coyotes, and rabbits. It focuses on rabbit drives, which are used to kill these animals in mass, because in Wyoming and Idaho they are considered predators or varmints. It adopts a human-centric approach and asks how rabbit drives affect our human economies or societal values. It argues that killing rabbits might actually increase coyotes' predation on sheep. There are also unintended consequences that shift ecological relationships in a given area that might negatively affect human health.

Keywords:   rabbit drives, ecological health, coyotes, sheep, predation, human health

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