Those in Utah who are in favor of removing all limits on the killing of cougars – which is in the current bill on the governor’s desk – might watch the film The Serengeti Rules – part of the Nature series, which just aired this evening on PBS. You can buy it on PBS too.
It is a crystal clear presentation of what happens when a keystone species – which are often, but not always, predators – disappears from an ecosystem.
What happens is always exactly the same – an imbalance arises – and one by one – all the other natural species die until nothing at all is left – only a barren desert with no life – or an empty pool by the seashore in which nothing lives.
Many examples were given in the film. Starfish are a keystone species. They hunt and keep other populations in check. When they were removed from a pool by the seashore, other species, with their population unchecked, multiplied, and began to eat everything in sight. In short order, everything was eaten and there was no food left. Then everything died and there was a completely dead pool.
In another situation – like several similar real situations in western U.S. states – all the wolves were killed. (All U.S. wolves had been killed and were extinct in the lower states by the end of the 1940’s. Gradually, with great effort some wolves have been brought back in recent years. It is an uphill battle – and many, many wolves, re-introduced, are still being killed.) In this particular situation, the film shows that after all the wolves had been killed, the deer, predictably, multiplied and ate everything – every young sapling, every blade of grass, every leaf within reach on the trees – until there was a vast overpopulation of deer who then died of starvation. This is what always happens.
There were many other examples presented – in the water, in the ocean and rivers, and on land – of keystone species being killed off and then the entire ecosystem collapsing as a consequence.
Of course, we might care about the cougars because they are individual, innocent, magnificent, majestic animals who enjoy living their lives free in the wild. But even if we don’t care about that – even if we don’t really mind killing off all of nature (the bill would make it legal to trap cougars pretty much anywhere at any time), we might take a moment to ask ourselves how we humans will survive when all the natural ecosystems are gone.
Radical imbalances in nature and weather disturbances are already causing harm and death to humans on a significant scale – and of course also to all the innocent creatures on the planet.
The Serengeti Rules, part of the Nature series, presents an absolutely clear, irrefutable scenario of the path we as a species are headed down – and also highlights the work of those heroes who fight hard and persevere to save the earth and the natural world.
© Copyright Sharon St Joan, 2023
4 thoughts on “About the Nature film, The Serengeti Rules”
I do hope we’ll see what’s happening before it’s too late and I appreciate that you’re amplifying this important message. Thank you!
Thank you for all that you do, Christina!
I haven’t see the Serengeti Rules but we have enough examples of what happens when a keystone species is removed. May better sense prevail.
Thank you for spending your life helping animals, Chinny. You are a wonderful example to follow.