Originally Posted by syzygy
It is often that people speak from the heart and wish for a world of pure compassion and unending life. Those are very admirable goals and reducing suffering for all life is an important part of a good life that we all should strive for. But it is equally important and essential to realize that life is about balance and cycles. Life and death are entwined and necessary to each other. To make important wildlife management decisions based on our desire for a compassionate perfect world without accepting the reality of the world as it is, is counterproductive to our goal of reducing suffering and supporting Mother Earths overall health and wellbeing.
Without predators the herbivores would eat all the plants and then die of starvation and disease. While this is simplified, it makes the point that the concept of no predators maybe appealing, it is not practical in a healthy balanced environment.
I realize that most herbivores tend to reproduce more than would be ideal if they weren't getting killed off. A species which does not reproduce enough would usually become extinct sooner or later- so most animals have a tendency to overpopulate. What I have in mind is to artificially control the breeding of wild (or semi-wild) herbivores in limited areas. This would not (at this point) be practical large-scale, as it is labor-intensive, involving either regular doses of some sort of contraceptive preparation by injection or feeding, or else surgically sterilizing some of the animals.
The Earth seeks balance and part of that balance involves the death and consumption of organisms so that other organisms may live. Predators prey on the sick, weak and infirm. They kill quickly and consume their prey with the purpose of self survival. Without predators, the prey species would suffer from other ailments and issues such as starvation. As an overall species, they would be denied the ability to have only most adapted and strongest carry their traits to the next generation thus producing even better adapted future generations of that species that have an even better chance of a happy, full life in the wild.
This should not be confused with humans who kill the strong, healthy and beautiful for sport and whimsy often only gathering a trophy and sometimes just the choicest bits of flesh. This results in the species having less of some of its best traits in future generations....
Okay. I think some points here are valid. Nonhuman predators, because they cannot "cheat" with a manufactured weapon, tend to kill individuals who are sick or disabled for some reason. However, it's sometimes just the luck of the draw whether an animal is killed by a predator or escapes. Examples: a herd of wildebeests and zebras crossing a river will be picked off largely at random by crocodiles lying in wait. I think studies of African lions have generally not shown lions to prey mostly on sick animals, although if an animal is obviously injured, they will jump at the chance of an easy kill. Still, if I recall correctly, most lion kills appeared to have been of healthy animals.
I'll have to take issue with the commonly-held idea that nonhuman predators kill more quickly and surely than human hunters. Orca whales apparently differ in their prey preference; some populations are primarily fish eaters; others prefer seals or other small warm-blooded animals. Others go after large whales- and those kills are not pleasant to watch.
Judith Rudnai, in her work "The Social Life Of The Lion", described a male lion feeding on a young antelope intermittently for an hour until the antelope died. It is true that some other kills she witnessed were much faster. More recently, lions have been found to kill elephants sometimes, and such a large animal does not die quickly or easily, even with several lions attacking. As for wolves, it's not unusual for them to make intermittent attacks on a large animal over a long time until their injured victim can be killed.