Ripple and the Megafauna Task Force

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endangered-speciesThe scientists have had it up to here with all the bureaucrats and industry officials killing all the animals. This time, they crossed the line and the scientists have something to say about it. In a recently published article, “Saving the World’s Terrestrial Megafauna,” OSU’s own Bill Ripple and 43 other ecologists, biologists, and conservation scientists have reached out to the international community for support.

Ripple and the Planeteers argue, quite compellingly, that the Earth’s largest species are in considerable danger. The article attests that 59% of the largest carnivores and 60% of the largest herbivores are threatened with extinction under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List.

These large mammals are often keystone species and ecosystem engineers. Their roles within an ecosystem cause cascading effects that ripple all the way down the food chain. Many times, we have only begun to understand the important roles megafauna play in time just to see them disappear forever.

To prevent that same fate from befalling any more species, the team of authors suggest a two-step solution. Step 1: Expand, refine, and continue implementing interventions at relevant scales. Step 2: Develop large-scale and global policy shifts and increased funding to alter the framework in which people interact with wildlife.

While the authors admit their arguments are nothing new, their hope is that by compiling them all together they might highlight the gravity of our situation. By attracting the support and unity of scientists and conservationists worldwide, perhaps we may find better methods of generating appreciation and understanding of our unique megafauna and the roles they play.

Take a peek at the article on BioScience here:

By Anthony Vitale

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