Posted September 20, 2018 09:12:54 It’s a little known fact that the vast majority of the wildlife in our wild areas of the United States is being lost to human activity, and that’s the case in some areas of Minnesota.
A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE looked at the wildlife populations in the U.S. and found that about 2.7 percent of the population is considered threatened by human activities.
That’s roughly equal to the number of Americans who live within 1,000 miles of a river that runs through the heart of Minnesota, a state that has one of the highest deer populations in North America.
This study was conducted by wildlife biologist Scott Schuster of the University of Minnesota and wildlife biologists Mark Bickley of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“There’s a very large population of wild animals that are in the wild and they’re not being managed for their use and they have no use for humans, but they have human uses, and so they need to be protected,” said Schuster, who has been tracking wildlife in Minnesota for about a decade.
“And the way that we’ve been doing that is through habitat protection, but we’re also using science to understand the species that we have that’s vulnerable.”
Minnesota is the only state in the country where the population of native wildlife is at a low point.
That includes not only the vast swaths of Minnesota’s western territory, but also the large parts of western Wisconsin, western Iowa and the vast eastern half of Minnesota that border Wisconsin and Iowa.
Schuster and Bickly say this research will help researchers understand how these species can be managed for the future.
The Minnesota Wildlife Conservation Commission is one of several agencies tasked with conserving Minnesota’s wildlife and habitats.
It oversees a wide range of wildlife management and conservation efforts, including wildlife parks, hunting and trapping, bird conservation, water quality and wildlife rehabilitation, among others.
The agency was founded in 1976 and was created by a landmark federal act that gave the state authority to manage wildlife.
In the last 20 years, the agency has helped preserve some of the most iconic wildlife in the state, such as the rare, endangered Minnesota sea turtle and the endangered white-footed ferret.
It also works to preserve wildlife species that are threatened with extinction, such the rare golden eagle and golden-crowned sparrow.
Schuster, a wildlife conservation biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said the current state of conservation efforts in Minnesota are well below the level needed to restore the state’s wildlife to its natural state.
“It’s a tough situation,” he said.
“The Minnesota DNR, the U, and all these agencies, and they are all trying to do the right thing.
We have a long way to go before we get there.”
Schuster said the state should focus more on improving wildlife management than protecting it.
“If you look at it, we have a lot of species that aren’t even listed as threatened species, and we’re the only states in the world that have a population of them, so it’s just a matter of trying to get the message across that it’s our responsibility to make sure we protect our wildlife,” he added.
“There are a lot more species that have their habitat intact that have been lost to development than there are species that haven’t been protected at all.”
The report looked at five states: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Utah.
The state of Minnesota had the highest rate of wildlife loss in the study, with a loss of about 7.8 percent of its native species, including deer, elk, moose, prairie dog, bison, waterfowl and bald eagle.
The researchers noted that wildlife loss was lower in Wyoming and Idaho than in Minnesota, but both of those states are part of the Rocky Mountain High Country, a region that includes parts of Montana, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
Schusters and Bicksley said the report highlighted some of Minnesota´s most vulnerable wildlife, but that the study also provided some interesting insight into what the state needs to do to make its wildlife recovery efforts a success.
“We’re seeing a lot less than we’re used to seeing in our conservation efforts,” Bickles said.