National Nevada Day: Why Our Predators Are So Important

Happy National Nevada Day to you and your wild neighbors from all of us here at KYNN! We’re proud to celebrate the great state of Nevada today, especially its native species and ecosystems.

It’s difficult to assign an exact ecological value to a species, but carnivorans (members of the mammal order Carnivora, which includes bears, cats, and dogs) are especially important in maintaining a healthy and balanced natural landscape. Here are just a few of the roles our wild neighbors play:

1.) Mountain lions control populations of deer, their main prey, thus preventing overgrazing of vegetation and eventual erosion. Mountain lion kills are scavenged upon by a huge diversity of wildlife and is critical to natural processes like the nutrient cycle.

2.) Coyotes control the populations of mesopredators, or mid-ranking predators like raccoons and skunks, which can be common urban nuisances that can potentially spread disease.

3.) Bobcats keep hare, rabbit, and rodent numbers low, which has a similar effect of reducing disease prevalence. Removing hares and rabbits from the landscape benefits farmers and ranchers that graze their animals on grass, which wild rabbits and hares compete for.

4.) Bears are effective seed dispersers as the most “vegetarian” of our 4 highlighted neighbors, with much of their diet being made up of grasses, berries, nuts, fruits, and other vegetation. Smelly piles of bear poo are actually helping plants grow everywhere!

We think it’s pretty easy to see why our wildlife is so critical for the continued health and prosperity of the Silver State. Here’s to another year of growth and learning, and let’s do all we can to help out our wild neighbors!

 

Aaron Huelsman

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