Taken from: http://www.vtaide.com/png/foodchains.htm
This afternoon, my friends and I met up in our usual spot. Hungry for a snack, we just moved onto the next block where our typical fast food chain stores were located. As I was eating my burger, I remembered the word topic on the food chain. So, I eat the burger and the animal where the beef burger came from eats something else. Moreover, that something else eats something else. I wonder if there is an end to that chain? Well…moving on…
I heard people talk about how some used to hunt rhinos for the game. I wonder though which part of the food chain the rhino goes into. I know it is a herbivore, but, is it that important? Since they have been hunting it, does it have any effect on the ecosystem?
Coming across the link above, it talked about how removing any level from an ecosystem disrupts the balance in nature. According to the article, elephants are known as tree and shrub stompers, which keep the forests in control. Wolves are predators, which keep herbivores like deer from over populating. Then, there’s the African rhino, which according to a study in Journal of Ecology, is also a keystone species. Results showed that:
“The places where the fewest rhinos lived, had 60 to 80 percent less short grass cover than places where rhinos frequently hung out. “Shortgrass” is a catch-all metric commonly used to approximate plant diversity in grassy areas in Africa, referring to some munchable species. Rhino-inhabited areas also had about 20 times more grazing lawns or patches where specific grass species grow that are prime eating for not only rhinos but also smaller grazing animals such as zebra, gazelle and antelope.”
As such, it is quite evident that rhinos are important in helping herbivores eat their plants. If we were to think, though: what then will happen when there are too many rhinos around? Being a herbivore, the natural answer would be, a barren wasteland. Too much high herbivore populations will cause the ecosystem to crash. Animals will seek new habitats, which can lead to unnecessary contacts with a human. This will make them a nuisance, and they will be hunted down. If the animals refuse to leave, then, there will be extinction. Not to mention that the plants were depleted and ecosystems ended up distorted.
Now, going back to my burger…I wonder how much change in the food chain I am causing with eating this one burger?