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Ecology at work
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Ecologist are currently trying to determine why the ape population is shrinking in the wild. They are also trying to determine the full extent of the damage caused to the ecological balance because of the smaller numbers of apes in the wild. Ecologists may first study apes in captivity in order to better understand the effect of certain environmental factors on ape populations. They also want to understand the idiosyncrasies in ape behavior. This way they can understand the apes effect on their environment. However, an ecologist that studies apes in the wild, may be able to get a clearer overall picture of the reason for dwindling ape populations. They must study the environment as a whole in order to understand the positive and negative effects of each environmental factor.

An ecologist would want to study many factors in determining the reason for shrinking ape populations. There are some obvious reasons for smaller ape populations. Certain areas of the world struggle to prevent trophy hunting and hunting by indigenous people. The various reasons for hunting apes include; food source, trophy hunting, the fight for land and the use of apes for medicinal purposes by some tribes. Indigenous peoples are not often educated about their impact on the environment. Ecologists will often work with local populations to help them understand the fragile ecological balance necessary for survival. While hunting is a major cause for finding a smaller population of apes in the wild, ecologists are finding many environmental factors as well.

An ecologist wants to understand the changing environment around them and their study subjects. There are many factors for an ecologist to consider when a species population begins to shrink. In addition to the obvious factors, there are those that the average person may not consider. For example, apes often must compete with other species for scare food sources. These other species may include those native to the area or invasive species that are gaining control where they shouldn’t. Apes must also contend with a shrinking habitat. Many of the factors effecting ape population are a direct result of humans interaction with their planet. Humans are the cause of hunting, shrinking food source and habitat and pollution. Ecologists are trying to determine the extent of damage caused by humans and are struggling to fix it before it is too late. Shrinking ape populations will also cause effects on other species and ecologist struggle to find ways to regain an ecological balance in the wild.

The hope of all ecologists is to understand the effect of organisms on their environment and vice verse. Hopefully, the knowledge each ecologist acquires, will help prevent the future loss of fragile species around the world. Ecologists help the general public to realize the damage humans are causing around the world. If we are unable to prevent future destruction of the sensitive ecological balance, humans may join the apes in eventual extinction.
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