NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Some Species' Populations Are Growing

December 22, 2000

Curbs on hunting have allowed some animal populations to spread into areas where they aren't wanted.

  • The bear population has soared in 20 states, and wildlife managers say hunts are the only way to control them.
  • Colorado's elk herds, booming because of hunting limits and a lack of predators, are trampling tundra and pristine meadows in Rocky Mountain National Park and elsewhere.
  • In parts of the Northeast, moose are so numerous they're destroying sensitive riverbanks - except in Maine, where voters defeated a moose-hunting ban in 1982.
  • In the Northwest, sea lions are voracious consumers of endangered salmon and steelhead, but they're protected by federal law.

Similar problems are connected with beavers in Massachusetts, cormorants on the Gulf Coast, coyotes and golden eagles in the West and mountain lions, which are so plentiful in California they threaten to kill off endangered bighorn sheep in the Sierra Nevada.

Source: John Ritter, "Hunters' Clout is Waning," USA Today, December 22, 2000.


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