Feral Animals

Feral animals are those introduced by humans, not native to landscapes, that have managed to survive on their own. Management of such animals is disputed, especially of mustangs and burros in the western United States. Although not now living in their native ecosystems, such animals may have been living wild for centuries. Management policy is typically to eliminate them, on grounds that they are not authentic wildlife, although the U.S. Congress has mandated preserving mustangs in some localities. Animal-welfare advocates have protested eliminating the mustangs and burros. Other cases involve feral hogs and goats. On San Clemente Island, off the coast of California, nearly thirty thousand goats were eliminated, about half of them shot, the other half captured and relocated with poor survival rates, in order to protect endangered species of plants, as well as to prevent further degradation of the island ecosystem. The goats had been left there by the Spanish in earlier centuries. The argument here is that we have a greater responsibility to native wildlife and plants than to feral species.


SEE ALSO: Environmental Ethics and other Animal Welfare and Rights subentries

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