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Mother Nature pages: main page    distemper    mange   áá rabiesá    population control

When it comes to wildlife, many people feel that if we let nature take its course that all wildlife problems will be solved. This is true to an extent as Mother Nature will stop overpopulations of any animal from occurring.

However, just how is this done if nature takes its course and man does not interfere? Any animal, take foxes or raccoons for instance, is able to reproduce at a rate that the population doubles yearly; two, then four, then eight, etc.

Soon there comes a time that there are so many animals that there is not enough food to go around,

Mother Nature waits until the animal population is out of hand.
or enough area in which to live. Some animals must therefore go. The way Mother Nature limits the number of any species is through disease, internal strife between the animals, or starvation.

Many of the diseases, such as rabies, or leptospirosis, are directly communicable to humans, or other diseases such as mange or distemper are directly communicable to domestic livestock or cats and dogs. These diseases are always present in the animal populations but only become prevalent or in epidemic proportions when the population of animals reaches a high level.

It is a fact that if there is a high population, then disease spreads much faster than when animal popu- lations are low or stable.

The only problem with Mother Nature's method of of population control is that she waits until the population is way out of hand before she takes over, and not before the population reaches a high level.

Soon many animals become sick and die until the population is very low and disease no longer spreads easily. Then, gradually, over several years, the popu- lation doubles yearly until that same overpopulation occurs again. It is the '~Boom and Bust" theory.

Let's take a closer look at some of Mother Nature's population limiting diseases.

When fur-bearing and predator animals are not controlled by trappers, the result is overpopulation, followed by malnutrition, disease, and eventually total obliteration of the species.

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Credit to Robert Wendt, D.V.M.,
and photographers of the
Conservation Education Division
and the Pathology and Rabies Control Section
of the Delmar Wildlife Laboratory.

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