Wolves In Ireland Essay

1379 words - 6 pages

Our National Parks suffer under excessive deer numbers - should wolves be re-introduced into the Glenveagh area, Co Donegal?A number of native predators have been successfully re-introduced to various parts of Europe but will the re-introduction of wolves work in Ireland and more importantly will it work in Glenveagh national park? This matter needs to be considered on many different levels, which include economic, farming and the ecosystem of this area. Overall we need to decide what we want from our wilderness but this essay will discuss the reasons why wolves should be re-introduced and the problems we will face if they are.At first we should face the questions as to why wolves should be re-introduced. With the loss of the wolf from Ireland, which came about as a result from the Cromwellian campaign to hunt and eliminate them, the natural predator of Ireland was thus lost. This resulted in the explosion of the deer population which in turn caused an avalanche of local extinctions. Deer are heavy grazers and have changed the whole nature of large ecosystems. American ecologist Robert T. Paine made a fine study on the animal community of a rock shore. In it he removed the predator and concluded that this resulted in the halving of the number of plant and animal species. This is because of extreme competition species and with one dominating over another, because there is no predator to keep them in check (Cox et al., 2010). The general conclusion of this, is that the presence of predators in a well-balanced community is likely to increased the numbers of species present and that they broaden the distribution of species. Thus the re-introduction of the wolf will give us a balanced ecosystem and help restore the damage done.Predation on herbivores help to keep the world green, they can alter the structure and composition of vegetation substantially. Species such as this are called keystone species because there removal changes and ecosystem dramatically. This is the role wolves play on an ecosystem.A problem with re-introduction is that the wolf population will not be a self-sustaining because the area is only 170 square kilometres and a wolves territory can range from 18 square kilometres per pack to 1300 square kilometres (Sabrina, 2005). Thus at most two packs would be able to fit into the park and for a viable population to be ensured four or five packs would be needed. A managed wolf population could definitely be beneficial for the ecosystem and this can be done with annual culling from the park rangers who already try operate that on the enormous deer populations. Wolves can tend to stray off in search of a mate but they can be traced with real time animal tracking made possible through global positioning systems and could be brought back.Another setback to this could be the local farmers. They will object to the re-introduction because of fear of live stock. Even with the re-introduction of the golden eagle they objected, and to this day...

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