Can we co-exist with wild animals for much longer?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by queeg, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. queeg Registered Member

    Since the beginning of life basically, there has been a foodchain, which generally if not interfered with, can remain the same for a long time. but since the arrival of modern homosapiens, we've drove many many animals to extinction, for food when we were primitive, which there was no problem with. but now, we have a stable method of farming animals for meat. what i'm focussing on is animals such as big cats, bears, crocodiles etc, animals that could kill us easily, animals in which we only kill for sport and in the odd instance, self defence.
    My question is basically, as the worlds population steadily grows, and industry expands, is there room for humans and wild animals to exist? I know we can probably prevent wild cats from going extinct what with cloning and such, but in my honest opinion, i can't see tigers, lions etc start to flourish again as a species. I heard recently that the black rhino was hunted to extinction recently, it's a horrible thing to hear, but i don't think it will directly affect our food chain. This may sound cold, but in the future it may be that we only keep the animals we need, not everyone cares about the preservation of a species, or the fact that it has took millions of years to evolve to this and we can so easily wipe it from existence. Such as the freshwater croc i think (might be saltwater) was almost wiped out a while back, which would be such a shame as they are probably the most successful animal on the planet as far as survival goes.

    I would personally love to see a way in which we could co-exist. and i have a particular fondness for big cats, i think they are amazing animals. but it may be that down the line there just wont be room for them to live with us, or foodchains will become so disrupted that even if we tried to introduce them back to certain areas they probably wouldn't survive anyway.
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  3. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

    No, unless the animals are kept in assigned areas that humans cannot go into but even then poachers will still get inside and kill the animals.
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  5. siledre Registered Senior Member

    humans will eventually eat every animal on the entire planet then my soylent green supply will be worth billions.
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  7. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Even bees cannot live with us.
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I'm pretty sure that Paleolithic (early stone age) humans did not hunt any species to extinction. I doubt that even Neolithic communities (permanent farming and herding villages and eventually the first stone-age cities) did that.

    During the four thousand years of the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, a few species were hunted to extinction with our spiffy new metal weapons and our more rapidly expanding populations. The dodo springs to mind, but I'm hard-pressed to think of a second example.

    But the Silent Spring predicted by Rachel Carson is a phenomenon of the Industrial Era, which began roughly 200 years ago. The proliferation of powerful weapons, the expansion of farmland, the pollution of the rivers, lakes, and now even oceans... and finally the spread of human habitation during the 20th century, when modern scientific medicine and public health programs virtually eradicated infant mortality in the industrial nations and even increased the birth rate tremendously in the Third World, caused an existential crisis for biodiversity. The auk, the Yangtze River dolphin, the passenger pigeon, the thylacine, the Carolina parakeet... and those are just vertebrates. Other species of animals, as well as plants, fungi and algae, have surely been vanishing without always being noticed.

    You're way behind the information curve, and in this case the update will make you happier.

    The second derivative of human population went negative in the 1980s; that is, the rate of population growth has been slowing. Its first derivative is universally predicted to reach zero at the end of this century, with a maximum population of 11 billion. At that point our numbers will begin to shrink, for the first time in about 60 thousand years. It turns out that prosperity is the most effective contraceptive. This will cause a crisis of a different nature, since every economic model assumes without discussion that the engine that generates prosperity is an endless increase in the number of producers and consumers--but based upon past performance, nobody will worry about that until the time comes. (And don't worry about food. The vast empty spaces in the USA, the rest of the Western Hemisphere and Australia could feed twenty billion people if their despotic leaders would just let the food get to the people instead of intercepting it, selling it on the black market, and using the money for weapons, cars, villas, champagne and hookers.)

    Furthermore, the Industrial Era is transitioning into the Electronic Age/Computer Age/Information Age, whatever you want to call it. Information technology is making virtually all human activities less energy-intensive, which will greatly reduce our footprint on the environment. In the USA, more than 25% of our petroleum consumption is due to commuting, so as a new generation of management takes over, who have the intelligence to supervise people they can't see, we'll reduce our need for oil, roads, cars, etc., as well as the second-order effects of commuting such as energy-intensive fast foods, nannies driving around town to take care of children whose parents never see them when they're awake, tradesmen driving huge trucks to perform simple home repairs that the owners have no time for, gardeners, etc.

    The generation of Americans now growing up will surely consume much less energy than we do, because of their electronics-intensive lifestyle, but also because of the importance of environmental issues to most of them.

    Other developed countries have imposed this transition by fiat, such as making gasoline expensive and building expansive railroad lines. The less-developed countries have a way to go, but they are developing faster than such countries did in the last century. Countries like Brazil are making good-faith efforts to stop chopping down their rain forest.

    There are places in Africa where preserves can be established, if the corrupt governments can be bribed to protect them from poachers and (ugh!) hunters of ivory and rhino horns.

    As for lions specifically, the biggest problem is predation of livestock. Fortunately there's a completely organic solution to that: the Anatolian Guardian dog, which was developed in Asia Minor a couple of thousand years ago specifically to protect livestock from the then-ubiquitous Asian lion. It's basically the world's largest sighthound with the head and teeth of a mastiff. Ranchers in the USA use them and find that just one can take down a bear, cougar or wild boar. Breeders have been shipping them to Africa, where it's been established that just two will keep lions away from a farm. The environmentalists are happy because nobody has to kill the lions, and the farmers are happy because nobody is eating their cows.

    Just the Western subspecies. Yes that's a shame but it's only a minor crisis for the genetic diversity of the species. There are still more than enough of them to rescue.

    The definition of "need" changes. As population stabilizes and the Computer Revolution increases everyone's income by a couple of orders of magnitude (as every previous paradigm shift has done: agriculture, bronze, iron, industry), the environment is becoming a commodity that people are willing to pay for.

    Most people love zoos, or at least the concept since many only visit them at long intervals, so if we find a way to maintain a viable population of a species, there won't be a lot of opposition to it. Both the USA and Australia have vast empty spaces where wild animal parks can be built. There's already one near San Diego, one of the biggest tourist attractions in California, which has plenty of attractions to compete for the tourist dollar. Sure, it's not the same as having them roaming wild in the outback. But nothing is ever the same as it used to be, is it? The animals will be more comfortable with regular veterinary care, and they won't always be running from predators.

    As I said, the world of the future isn't going to be like the world of the past, or even like the world of the present. They'll be eating food we provide and living in preserves.

    Many will prove to be reliable and popular pets. The capybara of South America, the world's largest rodent (150lb/65kg), is all the rage in the USA. All they need is a pool and some love: as a Pet&FORM=HDRSC2.

    The wild cats will be bred for docility just as wolves were 30,000 years ago. Who wouldn't want their own tiger or leopard?
  9. queeg Registered Member

    By "primitive" i meant anywhere from 1000bc - 1000ad. there was a considerable amount of mammals hunted to extinction, many types of deer,bison,wolves, cats etc, and it was for food back then.

    Yes but it's this next 50 years which are vital. In a survey of 400 biologists conducted by New York's American Museum of Natural History, nearly 70% believed that we are currently in the early stages of a human-caused extinction. 20% of all living populations could become extinct within 30 years (by 2030). It was estimated that if current rates of human destruction of the biosphere continue, one-half of all species of life on earth will be extinct in 100 years. More significantly, the current rate of species extinctions is estimated at 100 to 1000 times "background" or average extinction rates in the evolutionary time scale of earth.

    I agree that our consumption of fossil fuels will decline, as will the damage being done to the environment by them, but this is because we have already reached our peak in terms of the estimated quantity of extractable fossil fuels. Many more, cleaner, more efficient forms of energy will be taking oils place, such as hydroelectricity, biofuels, solar energy, and of course nuclear fusion reactors. But as for our energy consumption, it will of course increase as we evolve technologically as a species, at the rate information and computers are growing, the entire planet will be like one huge, energy consuming computer. and as new technologies are invented, and current ones improved, such as space tourism, and who knows what else, it means our energy requirements will grow substanially.

    This isn't a solution that in any way affects lions. lions do not hunt farmers cows, wolves are a hassle to some farmers, but even at that, i hardly think issuing each farmer with a guard dog is going to solve anything. and this wasn't my main point on this matter, it was population and industry growth in the next 50 years. By 2025, according to the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asia alone will have at least 10 hypercities, those with more than 19 million, including Jakarta (24.9 million people), Dhaka (25 million), Karachi (26.5 million), Shanghai (27 million) and Mumbai (33 million).[65] Lagos has grown from 300,000 in 1950 to an estimated 15 million today, and the Nigerian government estimates that city will have expanded to 25 million residents by 2015.[66] Chinese experts forecast that Chinese cities will contain 800 million people by 2020.

    would take a long long time to tame the big cats

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  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Wow. If you call the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Olmec and Inca "primitive," I can't imagine what you think of the ancient Egyptians, Harappans, etc!

    If there's one thing we've learned from the previous four paradigm shifts (agriculture, bronze, iron, industry), it is that it's impossible to see over one clearly. I'd be wary of making predictions about the next generation, much less trusting somebody else's prediction!

    No. It's because the post-industrial economy will not require as much energy as the industrial economy. The massive, capital- and energy-intensive projects of the early industrial era (railroads, steel mills, etc.) have very little in common with the information-intensive projects of our era. China has given virtually every citizen a telephone without turning a single tree into a telephone pole!

    Look at the state of Corporate America. The behemoth industrial giants are dying and being scavenged (bought up) by other behemoths, until they too go belly-up. With industrial processes being micromanaged by IT, they become far more energy-efficient. I wouldn't be surprised if within 25 years (which is probably beyond my lifetime) the only big corporations will be the ones that support the new infrastructure: IBM, Microsoft, Google, FedEx, etc.

    The work-week always shortens after a paradigm shift: industrialization shortened it from 100 hours to 40. Computerization might shorten it to ten. (I lied: agriculture, the first paradigm shift, lengthened it from the 20 hours a week that cavemen spent hunting and gathering to the aforementioned 100 hours tending the herds and cultivating the grains.) Anyway, people who spend less time working will use up less fossil fuel, and the recreational activities they perform at home will probably be about 95% virtual.

    You talk about computers as though they're still the behemoth mainframes I learned on in 1967, with enough air conditioning to make Arizona almost habitable. Today's IT is not an energy-hogging technology, and every new generation is more parsimonious than the last.

    This is like Charles Dickens predicting that as more industrial technologies are invented, the requirement for back-braking human labor will grow substantially. Uh... it didn't work out that way at all. The Industrial Revolution gifted us (eventually) with the weekend and paid vacations.

    I used to have an Anatolian and kept up with the breeders' community. They told us that because it was, indeed, lions that were attacking the livestock in African villages, the only dogs that were big and tough enough to keep them at bay were Anatolians. As I said, the Mesopotamians had problems with Asian lions attacking their livestock, and this is the reason they developed the Anatolian in the first place.

    I don't know specifically what species of livestock the typical African farmer raises, but lions are indeed a big problem for them. That's why we're shipping them Anatolians.

    Two guard dogs, and yes if each farmer has two Anatolians, lions are no longer a problem. Sure, they'll manage to sneak in and kill a few, but not enough to impoverish the village.

    But this is not the result of runaway population explosion. It's the migration of rural dwellers to the cities. China, as we all know, has essentially leveled its birthrate, but people are still moving to the cities to find work. Brazil will probably accomplish the same thing in another decade, and perhaps India too. That leaves Africa, but even there, where a family once had 10 children they now have only 5.

    And we can use their excess population as immigrants to keep our own economy working, especially the Ponzi scheme we euphemistically call "Social Security."

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    would take a long long time to tame the big cats

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  11. Username Registered Senior Member

    Domesticating animals is probably our best bet. Otherwise we will have to play the role of environmental police. There are some animals that do nothing more than spread diseases, and they are not good for us, much less for themselves. Honeybees for example contribute to 1/3 of the food that is produced in America. They are dying at a rapid pace and if we lose them then we lose a lot of the food we are use to eating. Many scientists think their decline in numbers can be attributed to our use of pesticides.
  12. queeg Registered Member

    They are primitive compared to us. I'm not saying there wasn't very intelligent ancient philosophers eg. in certain fields of mathematics. But as far as understanding nature, technology and morality for the most paret they were primitive savages 2000 years ago. a lot of the civilisations whose structure revolved around possessions.

    But the industrial economy will always be, it will just become more efficient, and a lot bigger due to the speculation of the population dynamics of the coming 50 years. Yes, we are in the middle of an information/technology revolution at present, probably only at the start of it actually, but one revolution doesn't end another. We will inevitably and almost exponentially increase our technology advances, and the energy to run it. It will just be easier for us to generate the energy, providing we do perfect several of the methods for energy production i mentioned above, such as fusion power. Eventually we will have to implement some sort of continent wide power grid, to replace the ageing current grid, which can't withstand the power which will be required of it in the future.

    I don't have much to say on the state of american corporations, the industrial giants you speak of are being replaced by foreign powers, from the likes of china. It's true there will be bigger conglomerates, but the amount of industry will only increase. I personally think north america has a lot of problems it needs to sort. over 60% of the country are scientifically illiterate, which will be their downfall.

    Well i didn't mean this, IT hoggs more energy than i think you realise, and you can be sure that we will always try to make more powerful computers, but as i said before, we will be producing energy a lot easier, the technology + and energy will grow together.

    My initial question was on the survivability of wild animals during the coming population and urbanism expanditure.
  13. kurros Registered Senior Member

    There is some debate about it still, but it is certainly possible that early man wiped out practically all of the megafauna that once roamed the earth.

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