Fauna of the National Parks
of the United States
SUGGESTED NATIONAL-PARK POLICY FOR THE VERTEBRATES
Every tenet covering the vertebrate life in particular must be governed by the same creed which underlies administration of wild life in general throughout time national parks system, namely:
That one function of the national parks shall be to preserve the flora and fauna in the primitive state and, at the same time, to provide the people with maximum opportunity for time observation thereof.
In the present state of knowledge, and until further investigations make revision advisable, it is believed that the following policies will best serve this dual objective as applied to the vertebrate land fauna. Without further comment, inasmuch as the supporting reasons have been developed in preceding sections, it is proposed:
1. That each park shall contain within itself the year-round habitats of all species belonging to the native resident fauna.
2. That each park shall include sufficient areas in all these required habitats to maintain at least the minimum population of each species necessary to insure its perpetuation.
3. That park boundaries shall be drafted to follow natural faunal barriers, the limiting faunal zone, where possible.
4. That a complete report upon a new park project shall include a survey of the fauna as a critical factor in determining area and boundaries.
5. That no management measure or other interference with biotic relation ships shall be undertaken prior to a properly conducted investigation.
6. That every species shall be left to carry on its struggle for existence unaided, as being to its greatest ultimate good, unless there is real cause to believe that it will perish if unassisted.
7. That, where artificial feeding, control of natural enemies, or other protective measures, are necessary to save a species that is unable to cope with civilization's influences, every effort shall be made to place that species on a self-sustaining basis once more; whence these artificial aids, which themselves have unfortunate consequences, will no longer be needed.
8. That the rare predators shall be considered special charges of the national parks in proportion that they are persecuted everywhere else.
9. That no native predator shall lie destroyed on account of its normal utilization of any other park animal, excepting if that animal is in immediate danger of extermination, and then only if the predator is not itself a vanishing form.
10. That species predatory upon fish shall be allowed to continue in normal numbers and to share normally in the benefits of fish culture.
11. That the numbers of native ungulates occupying a deteriorated range shall not be permitted to exceed its reduced carrying capacity and, preferably, shall be kept below the carrying capacity at every step until the range can be brought back to original productiveness.
12. That any native species which has been exterminated from the park area shall be brought back if this can be done, but if said species has become extinct no related form shall be considered as a candidate for reintroduction in its place.
13. That any exotic species which has already become established in a park shall be either eliminated or held to a minimum provided complete eradication is not feasible.
14. That the threatening invasion of the parks by other exotics shall be anticipated; and to this end, since it is more than a local problem, encouragement shall be given for national and State cooperation in the creation of a board which will regulate the transplanting of all wild species.
15. That presentation of the animal life of the parks to the public shall be a wholly natural one.
16. That no animal shall be encouraged to become dependent upon man for its support.
17. That problems of injury to the persons of visitors or to their property or to the special interests of man in the park, shall be solved by methods other than those involving the killing of the animals or interfering with their normal relationships, where this is at all practicable.
18. That a complete faunal investigation, including the four steps of determining the primitive faunal picture, tracing the history of human influences, making a thorough zoological survey and formulating a wild-life administrative plan, shall be made in each park at the earliest possible date.
19. That the local park museum in each case shall be repository for a complete study skin collection of the area and for accumulated evidence attesting to original wild-life conditions.
20. That each park shall develop within the ranger department a personnel of one or more men trained in the handling of wild-life problems, and who will be assisted by the field staff appointed to carry out the faunal program of the Service.