Our National Parks suffer under excessive deer numbers - should wolves be re-introduced into the Glenveagh area, Co Donegal?
A number of native predators have been successfully re-introduced to various parts of Europe but will the re-introduction of wolves work in Ireland and more importantly will it work in Glenveagh national park? This matter needs to be considered on many different levels, which include economic, farming and the ecosystem of this area. Overall we need to decide what we want from our wilderness but this essay will discuss the reasons why wolves should be re-introduced and the problems we will face if they are.
At first we should face the questions as to why wolves should be re-introduced. With the loss of the wolf from Ireland, which came about as a result from the Cromwellian campaign to hunt and eliminate them, the natural predator of Ireland was thus lost.
This resulted in the explosion of the deer population which in turn caused an avalanche of local extinctions. Deer are heavy grazers and have changed the whole nature of large ecosystems. American ecologist Robert T. Paine made a fine study on the animal community of a rock shore. In it he removed the predator and concluded that this resulted in the halving of the number of plant and animal species. This is because of extreme competition species and with one dominating over another, because there is no predator to keep them in check (Cox et al., 2010). The general conclusion of this, is that the presence of predators in a well-balanced community is likely to increased the numbers of species present and that they broaden the distribution of species. Thus the re-introduction of the wolf will give us a balanced ecosystem and help restore the damage done.