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Take the Wolf

Times of Malta /  Natural Reaction / January 15, 2006

Large or small, living organisms of many different colours and traits make up the fabric of life on Earth. Human beings often forget that they are a part of this weave. A dominant thread in the tapestry, we may not fully recognise how much our quality of life depends on a healthy eco-system, biologically diverse and teeming with life of all sorts.

Preserving the widest possible range of our naturally occurring plants, insects, marine life, birds and small mammals is nothing less than critical if we want to live sustainably. A commitment was made by heads of government at a European Council meeting held in 2001 to protect the spread of different species in Europe. Biodiversity is the rich spectrum of flora and fauna which makes a place unique or special.

Forests, seas and other ecosystems can go into decline when key vegetation or creatures, which have been supporting those systems, are eliminated. Scientists know comparatively little about the interdependence of species and their habitat. Each keeps the other alive. Take the wolf. Forests went into decline wherever man hunted down the wolves. In the absence of predators, deer change their behaviour, lowering their heads to graze when there is no longer the need to keep a constant lookout. Tender young trees at ground level do not have a chance.
When wolves, the natural predator of the deer, are sharing their habitat, the deer keep their heads high when feeding. They pass over the vulnerable tree shoots, eating bark and leaves from fully grown trees at eye level while alert to any predators as they eat.


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