The bears and the bees

There’s lots of news out there this week about bees. Their populations have been seriously declining in Canada – and around the world – in recent years, largely due to the use of pesticides.

But wait – we’re the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals. What do bees have to do with our mission?

Urban dwellings have removed many of us from nature and as a result we often forget the interconnectedness of it all. The loss of a single species in an ecosystem can have catastrophic effects on all other species.

Consider this: bees pollinate many of our native plant species. Without bees, the plants don’t grow. Without the plants, there isn’t anything for herbivores to eat. Without herbivores, there’s nothing for omnivores and carnivores, and those top predators which in turn control ecosystems. In time, the entire ecosystem – or food chain – breaks down.

This happened in Yellowstone National Park: the extirpation of wolves allowed the elk and deer populations to explode, which then nearly destroyed the native plant life (aspens and willows). Other essential carnivores like birds of prey and omnivores such as bears and coyotes were thrown into a state of flux because of this as well. When wolves were finally returned to the park in 1995, the entire ecosystem began to rebalance itself.

When you read the news items about the staggering loss of bees in Canada, take a moment to truly consider the ramifications. By ignoring the impact of humans on a species like honey bees, we could be dooming all the animals of our ecosystems. Including those bearing fur.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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