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Reproductive speed protects large animals from being hunted to extinction

threat," Price said. Regional military conflicts also turn up the heat on species, as people in strife-torn areas will turn increasingly to "bush meat," including hoofed animals, to supplement their diets.

"Because these are large, plant-eating animals, they have a significant effect on the local ecology," Price said. These animals help disperse plant seeds through their manure and keep plant growth in check. "You can completely change the ecosystem without knowing it if you hunt these animals to extinction," she said.

Price isn't optimistic that much could be done to incorporate her findings into new game policies, but this new understanding of the importance of reproductive rates could help conservation managers zero in on which species are in the greatest peril.


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Contact: Karl Leif Bates
karl.bates@duke.edu
919-681-8054
Duke University
15-May-2007


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