Uncontrolled Consumption Of Wildlife Animals North America
It was a difficult time for animals. Poaching was rampant. Poaching was rampant. Wild mammals and birds were being kill by the thousands. A wild trade in wildlife causing rare species to disappear and making it difficult for once-common animals to be found.
This is the story of North America 100 years ago and Asia today. There was a surprising ending in America and one I believe could happen in Asia. North America is home to a wide range of wildlife. My research as a wildlife biologist is primarily focused on documenting the recovery of species once hunted to extinction, such as deer, wolves, and fishers.
This is what I call the North American wildlife preservation miracle. With many species at risk of extinction a century ago, the people of North America created a new culture of conservation and stopped overusing wildlife.
Today, the unregulated trade in Asia’s wildlife is threatening many species around the globe. This spotlight has brought to light the dangers of unregulated wildlife trade in Asia, which presents an opportunity for Asia to achieve a conservation miracle. I hope that lessons learned from America’s experience will be helpful.
Trade In Wild Animals That Are Out Of Control
The seemingly inexhaustible bounty of wildlife found in America began to diminish in the late 1800s and early 2000s. Three northeast species, the Labrador duck and great auk, were extinct by 1878. In the 1880s, the eastern elk was extinct, making it the largest mammal found in eastern states. Even resilient species such as the white-tailed deer or Canada goose saw their numbers drop sharply. Bison numbers once reached 30 million. However, they were reduced to just a few hundred animals in the late 1880s.
Instead of believing they had an endless supply, the pioneers realized that there was no way to stop it. American settlers believed they had a manifest fate and that expansion across the continent was their destiny. They also accepted the inevitable consequences of losing other species. The bison did not become extinct.
Recovering From The Brink
The possibility of eradicating a famous species such as bison was an appealing prospect for some Americans, including Theodore Roosevelt. The American Bison Society was formed by them. It bred bison at New York’s Bronx Zoo, and then shipped them west to repopulate their former habitats.
Roosevelt, as president, helped to create the first national wildlife refuges. He also signed laws restricting wildlife trade. However, the majority of the work was completed by individuals and states.
Americans opposed large-scale hunting. George Bird Grinnell was the editor of Forest and Stream magazine. He used it as a platform for calling for the protection of birds. Grinnell teamed up with Teddy Roosevelt to form the Boone and Crockett Club. This group is made up of conservation-minded hunters. Harriet Hemenway, a Boston socialite, and Minna Hal, founded the Massachusetts Audubon Society. They worked to end the practice of embellishing ladies’ hats in wild bird plumes.
Wildlife Animals Agency
Every state had a wildlife agency by the 1930s. It was funded through taxes and hunting license fees. These agencies stopped most wildlife harvests, protected and restored habitat, and reintroduced animals that were extinct, like turkeys and otters.
States controlled when hunting could be resume and how many animals could be harvest. Aldo Leopold, a scientist from Ecology, adapted his principles to create wildlife management. This new branch of research could inform regulations.
Today, deer, turkeys, bears, elks, ducks, and geese are plentiful in many areas of North America. The harvest is carefully control by the state governments. The United States does not sell wildlife for commercial purposes, as opposed to Australia and most of Europe. Sustainable management is use to manage the trapping and sale of fur-bearing animal like fisher and beaver.
Wildlife conservation in North America faces many challenges. These include habitat loss, climate change, and pollution. Unsustainable hunting is not a problem anymore, as legal hunting funds conservation of all species.
Asia Will Stop Eating Wildlife
In Asia, the demand for wildlife products has led to a decline in animal population over the past 20 years. Today, the majority of larger mammal species that not found in North America are under threat from poaching for food and art as well as traditional remedies of questionable effectiveness.
It seems that no species has been spare from this scourge. Exotic dishes such as braised salamander or soup made with the swim bladder of a totoaba, a large Mexican fish, will be expensive.
Conservationists want to capitalize on the SARS-Cov-2 tragedy to end global wildlife trade or to regulate it more closely. What lessons can North American experience teach us?
It is crucial to reduce the demand. It was slow work a century ago. COVID-19 has created a stigma around wildlife products, which could help turn the tides in Asia. This is similar to how public shame in the U.S. ended demand for feather hats or fur from spotted cat strays.
Encourage Asian Consumers Animals
Animal welfare activists are now using social media to encourage Asian consumers not to buy products from endangered animals. China has banned domestic ivory sales in China since 2017. The Chinese have also stopped eating shark fin soup over the past ten years.
This effort will also involve many stakeholders, including the national governments, regional authorities, and non-governmental organizations such as Save Vietnam’s Wildlife and Bat Conservation India Trust. These groups are able to connect with local communities and help them understand their culture and politics.
Finally, we need to have some optimism. Americans learned from the persistence of the bison 100 years ago that extinction was not an option. It is crucial to now monitor wildlife populations to ensure that conservation efforts are direct at the most vulnerable species. Also, it is important to celebrate any recovery that may be a sign of a second conservation miracle.