Hunting: the Primary Cause of Extinction

By the end of the nineteenth century, that darkest of times for wildlife in North America, rampant hunting had led to the extinction of the great auk, the passenger pigeon, two subspecies of elk and the near-total extinction of bison, pronghorn, trumpeter swans, bighorn sheep and a myriad of other coveted species. Meanwhile, scavengers like condors were collateral damage in the frenzied campaign to rid the continent of its native carnivores.

Exposing the Big Game

Contrary to the preposterous—yet increasingly popular—belief that gas-guzzling, beer-can-tossing hunters are concerned environmentalists, hunting has been and continues to be the primary cause of extinctions world-wide. Even the plight of non-“game” animals, like the California condor, the country’s largest and perhaps most critically endangered bird species, stems from the same root cause that has led to the decimation of so many other species: hunting.

By the end of the nineteenth century, that darkest of times for wildlife in North America, rampant hunting had led to the extinction of the great auk, the passenger pigeon, two subspecies of elk and the near-total extinction of bison, pronghorn, trumpeter swans, bighorn sheep and a myriad of other coveted species. Meanwhile, scavengers like condors were collateral damage in the frenzied campaign to rid the continent of its native carnivores.

Together with ravens and vultures, condors were senselessly shot on sight by trigger-happy ranchers mistaking…

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3 thoughts on “Hunting: the Primary Cause of Extinction

  1. The idea that earlier humans were somehow more “respectful” of nature and animals, and “learned to live in harmony with nature” is erroneous. 12,000 years ago humans entered North America over the Siberian land bridge, and started killing off the saber-tooth tigers, mammoths, and other innocent wild animals, which was really another mass extinction in the making. Just because these early humans did not have guns, made little difference, because their attitude towards other life was to control and even extinguish it. Now, Modern Homo sapiens is continuing the extinction this time with uncontrolled population size, and more destructive technology. Nothing has changed, has it?

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