Are humans unsustainable super predators?

You need not look far to find the world’s “super predator,” a term used by UVic scientists to describe how human dominance has bred an unrelenting predacious global culture that threatens nature’s balance.

Research published in the Aug. 21 edition of the journal Science by a team led by UVic geographer Chris Darimont and co-authored by UVic biologist Tom Reimchen shows how extreme human predatory behavior is responsible for widespread wildlife extinctions, shrinking fish sizes and disruptions to global food chains. 

During four decades of fieldwork on Haida Gwaii, UVic biologist Dr. Tom Reimchen conceived the idea to look at how human predators differ from other predators in nature. Reimchen’s predator-prey research revealed that predatory fish and diving birds overwhelmingly killed juvenile forms of freshwater fish. Collectively, 22 predator species took no more than two per cent of the adult fish. Nearby, Reimchen observed a stark contrast: fisheries exclusively targeted adult salmon, taking 50 per cent or more of the runs.

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c/o The Ring