Don’t let the lab coat fool you. I enjoy chattering at birds as much as the next cat. Staring out the window and vibrating my mouth to “chirp” helps me relax after a long day.

My wild cousins do take things a bit further—namely, predation. It’s not pretty, but it’s an important part of keeping life in balance.

I talked about predators with my friend Travis King. He’s a Ph.D. student in the School of the Environment at Washington State University. He studies big cats like lynx and jaguars.

Travis King.

“It’s a balancing act between predators, disease, food and space,” King said. “If you take away predators, you lose one of the factors keeping an ecosystem in balance.”

An ecosystem is a community of living things and the world they live in. Rainforests, oceans and cities are all ecosystems. Each ecosystem can support only so many animals. The maximum number it can handle is its carrying capacity.

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Dr Universe