A new way to support scavengers
ARK Nature is committed to the restoration of scavenger populations in the areas where we work. We want to throw a spotlight on the role of dead animals and wildlife in nature. We warmly encourage other initiatives to join us, and will provide support wherever possible.
The role of carcasses in wild nature is frequently overlooked, but they are an essential component of numerous fully functional food chains. It is only recently that the conservation movement had to fight for more dead wood in our forests. Now it is widely accepted by many management bodies that healthy, natural forests need large amounts of such wood, in the form of both standing and fallen trees. We now know that dead and rotting trees are a key component in the lifecycle of myriad forest species, from woodpeckers and bats through to beetles and fungi.
If making the argument for more dead wood in our forests is still a challenge, then pressing the case for leaving carcasses in nature is even more difficult. One of the core elements of rewilding entails the restoration of functional landscapes where natural processes and ecological dynamics thrive. Such processes may be abiotic, as in river flows, or biotic, such as those that exist throughout the ecological web in food chains. Increasing the availability of carcasses can help to restore biotic processes and create more diverse and dynamic habitats.
Our focus is on larger mammals in particular; the establishment of healthy and diverse populations of such species creates a prey base for carnivores, who in turn provide food for scavengers. In addition, carcasses from road kills and hunted wildlife can also be used to support scavenging species.
Together with Rewilding Europe we have made the Circle of Life brochure detailing a number of practical steps that can be taken to suport scavenger populations, as well important background information. The brochure can be downloaded for free.