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Problems from a Surplus of Animals

Having a surplus of animals is a problem for the following reasons.

  • The surplus cannot survive. When there is a surplus, many animals will die of starvation, fighting, or other causes related to overpopulation.
  • A surplus can cause wildlife to damage personal property. For example:
    • Beaver build dams that flood crop fields.
    • Mink raid chicken houses.
    • Raccoons can ruin a whole crop of corn.
  • A surplus can increase the spread of disease. For example, large populations of foxes are more likely to spread rabies and distemper among themselves. Sick foxes (or other furbearers) then can pass diseases to farm animals, pets, or people.
  • A surplus damages the habitat. For example:
    • Muskrats dig tunnels through the land around a pond. Having too many tunnels can cause flooding that damages the habitat.
    • If too many furbearers live in one area, they will eat all the available plants. This destroys the habitat for all animals in the area.
Wildlife surplus chart

Other Problems

Other factors can work against the principles of wildlife management.

  • Human population growth leads to loss of habitat. As habitats are lost, furbearers in populated areas can create problems. For example, coyotes kill pets and raccoons invade homes. This can lead to an extermination attitude toward furbearers, instead of a conservation attitude.
  • Animal rights groups want to eliminate all hunting and trapping. This might save individual animals from human use. However, it probably is not the best way to maintain healthy habitats and overall populations.