Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Missouri elk are being reintroduced in the wrong part of the state, MU anthropologist says

29.04.2011
Conservationists should consult prehistoric record to help make best decisions for animals and environment

According to prehistoric records, elk roamed the northwestern part of Missouri until 1865. Now, the Missouri Department of Conservation is planning to reintroduce elk, but this time in the southeast part of the state. While a University of Missouri anthropologist believes the reintroduction is good for elk, tourism and the economy, he said the effort may have unintended negative consequences that are difficult to predict.

R. Lee Lyman, the chair of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Science, has studied the history of mammals, conservation biology and wildlife management for nearly 40 years. He said a 2002 MU study completed by a graduate student proved that most prehistoric elk remains found in Missouri were in the field plains of the northwestern area of the state, not the southeast reintroduction location.

"If we are looking for the best place for elk survival, we should consider why elk were not in the southeastern part of the state in prehistoric times," Lyman said. "If they weren't there previously, why would they survive there now? The Mississippi flood plain -where they are being reintroduced – is not the best habitat, because elk didn't live there for some reason, such as the wrong kind of food or bad terrain."

A coordinated effort to control a species is always controversial, Lyman said, because it involves many different factors, including politics, economics, tourism and biology. Lyman believes mistakes can be avoided if the prehistoric record is considered.

In his most recent study, Lyman found that the North American elk in the mountains of eastern Washington State were native to those mountains – even though popular mythology, and early science, indicated that humans had driven the elk there from adjacent lowlands. The results were published in the March edition of the journal Environmental Management.

There are plenty of examples where wild animal control has not been advantageous to the environment. For example, in Missouri, river otters that were reintroduced are now dominating ponds and overtaking ecosystems. In Montana and Idaho, ranchers and farmers have successfully fought to get wolves reintroduced to the Yellowstone ecosystem in the early 1990s removed from the endangered list, so that farmers can kill the wolves, which jeopardize livestock.

"The issues in these situations relate to time and the ecological cascade that happens when you change one variable," Lyman said. "A hundred years is nothing when compared to the 12,000 years elk have been in America. So what is going to happen when elk roam the Ozarks? If we think that 500-pound elk are going to stay in one area – that is pretty naïve. No matter how much data scientists collect and use to make predictions, we're still talking about wild animals. The truth is no one really knows."

Lyman points to Missouri's whitetail deer as an example of animals thriving in the dense Missouri forests.

"The scrawny whitetail deer in our cities and dead along our highways are proof that there can be too much of a good thing," Lyman said.

Steven Adams | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.missouri.edu

Further reports about: Mississippi flood Missouri elk Yellowstone ecosystem

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>