Nature Notes

Vol. IV January 1, 1927 No. 15


Recently the Naturalist was talking with a visitor from central Europe and told him of the work the Biological Survey hunters are doing in ridding the Park of predatory animals.

It is a mistake, he said. The predatory animals are part of the scheme of things. They are the doctors, they take care of the sick and the injured and the aged among the other animals. They put a necessary and natural check upon the rodents that would multiply too rapidly without them. They are interesting animals and they have their place in the normal plan of nature. Europe has learned this, but with us, it is too late.

He is right. We are just beginning to see this. In settled regions the advent of man and his way of living upon the soil has hopelessly upset and scrambled the ways of nature and her wild things and in such regions it is sometimes necessary that man should take a hand and destroy such animals as oppose his way of life. It is the survival of the fittest and the dominance of man, but here on these great natural wildernesses where the hand of man is stayed and nature is paramount it is best to give nature a free hand. We began to see the effects of too much meddling with nature in the situation of the deer on the Kaibab Forest and even in some cultivated regions. Many a western community has realized too late that if they had not hunted the coyote so ruthlessly their crops would have suffered far less from the ground squirrels, and if the weasels had not been exterminated the field mice would not have girdled the trees in their young orchards.

Personally, I am convinced that it is time to call off the dogs and let the cougar and the coyote take their normal toll from the bands of deer and snowshoe rabbits. In the end it is for their own good.

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