Hunting and other wildlife regulations, if done correctly, can make the population more viable.

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This may sound counter-intuitive, but reducing the number of animals in the population will help the rest of the population survive during the winter.

“Harvesting or other means of adjusting animal populations can have a positive effect by reducing competition. foodSays Bart Peters, a postdoctoral fellow at NTNU’s Faculty of Biology.

this is, Race Limited by food availability.The results of the study were published in the journal Ecology letter It can be useful for managing different species.

Reindeer and other species

Peeters and his colleagues used statistical models and simulations to Animal population By regulation hunting.. Some of these models can be transferred to other species, one of which was specially developed for the Svalbard reindeer.

“Poor winter grazing conditions, such as heavy snowfall and tundra ice, increase competition for food, which has little effect when the population is small and few animals compete for food. However, with large populations, many animals seek food. When bad weather reduces the available resources, they starve and die, “says Peters.

With abnormal weather High population densityOr, in the worst case, overgrazing can lead to population collapse when there are few or no animals that can eat well.

“Regulated hunting can have a positive effect as it reduces the number of animals before winter, so fewer animals need to compete for food,” Peeters said. increase.

“By harvesting more animals in autumn hunting, we can reduce population density and avoid the increased impact of worsening winter grazing conditions. Hunting brings better conditions for animals that survive hunting. Many animals will survive the winter, and more will produce calves next summer, “says Professor Brage Bremset Hansen.

Bremset Hansen is the project manager of the Norwegian Institute of Nature (NINA), one of NTNU’s Biodiversity Dynamics Center and several project partners. This project is funded by the Research Council of Norway.

The findings can be transferred to other species with limited food resources that are strongly affected by weather conditions. Examples include other deer species that are affected by snow depth, and species whose drought can affect access to food resources and water.

Only low to medium level harvests

This approach does not work for very large harvests.

“We have shown that bad weather can significantly reduce the population of dense animals, but harvesting 5-10% of the population reduces mortality from these bad weather. You can, “says Peeters.

In reality, more population can occur at the end of winter than if no hunting took place. Unless you harvest too many animals.

Helps manage wildlife

In recent years, the mild, rainy winters of Svalbard have repeatedly caused tundra ice coverings, sometimes causing reindeer problems.

“If the population density is high or the tundra is overgrazing, food competition will be even more intense in heavy snow conditions, especially if winter rain leads to a thick ice cover on the ground. “Peeters says.

This phenomenon is occurring more and more frequently in the Svalbard Islands, and also in the Finnmark Plateau, the northernmost part of Norway.

How many to decide animal It should be harvested by hunting to avoid a sharp decline in population. This depends on the grazing conditions and the size of the population. Unfortunately, winter Whether it’s bad or not isn’t that simple.

“Nevertheless, sustainable regulation by modest hunting and other harvesting methods can be a precautionary measure to avoid high mortality, low production and rapid harvests. population It will decrease under unfavorable grazing conditions. ”

Warm winters mean more rain in the Svalbard Islands

For more information:
Bart Peeters et al, Harvesting Can Stabilize Population Fluctuations and Mitigate the Impact of Extreme Climate Events, Ecology letter (2022). DOI: 10.1111 / ele.13963

Quote: Hunting and other wildlife regulations, if done correctly (February 17, 2022), can make the population more viable.

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Hunting and other wildlife regulations, if done correctly, can make the population more viable.

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