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I would like to see more wildlife in my area. Why doesn’t the Department of Fish and Wildlife capture wildlife and release the animals in my area?

This always sounds like a good idea, and it seems simple enough. Capture wildlife in one area, and then take them and release them in another area so that we can increase wildlife populations. Unfortunately, this idea rarely works!

If an area has good habitat, it probably already has wildlife living in the habitat. If an area has poor wildlife habitat, capturing and releasing wildlife in that area will not increase wildlife numbers.

You already know that good habitat contains food, water, space, and cover in the proper arrangement. But can you continue to add wildlife to good habitat without having any impact on the amount of food, water, and cover? Of course, the answer is no! If you have good habitat for only 25 animals, adding another 5 animals will actually reduce the quality of the habitat for all animals.

Look at the picture below. Think of the pail as good wildlife habitat. The pail can hold only a fixed amount of water. As more water is added to the pail, the excess water will spill out of the pail. The pail is like wildlife habitat. The habitat has enough food, water, and cover to support a fixed number of animals. When more animals are added to the habitat, they may actually damage the habitat by eating more food, using more water, etc.

Bucket showing water overflow to explain carrying capacity