From ScienceDaily, Predators Do More Than Kill Prey,
The direct effect predators have on their prey is to kill them. The evolutionary changes that can result from this direct effect include prey that are younger at maturity and that produce more offspring. But killing prey also has indirect effects -- rarely characterized or measured -- such as a decline in the number of surviving prey, resulting, in turn, in more food available to survivors. In a new study characterizing the complex ecological interactions that shape how organisms evolve, biologists present a novel way of quantifying the indirect effects of predators by showing that prey adapt to food availability as well as the presence of predators.
The notion that a predator animal killing and eating its prey is "bad" fails to take into account the complexity of interactions within an ecological system. Seen from a wider point of view, the killing of the prey is but a part of a larger, good system. A system which, by its definition, be fully functional at its inception. A system bearing the trademarks of design.
Consider the implications of another article, from ScienceDaily, titled Are Wolves The Pronghorn's Best Friend?,
As western states debate removing the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act, a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society cautions that doing so may result in an unintended decline in another species: the pronghorn, a uniquely North American animal that resembles an African antelope.
The study, appearing in the latest issue of the journal Ecology, says that fewer wolves mean more coyotes, which can prey heavily on pronghorn fawns if the delicate balance between predators and their prey is altered. According to the study, healthy wolf packs keep coyote numbers in check, while rarely feeding on pronghorn fawns themselves. As a result, fawns have higher survival rates when wolves are present in an ecosystem.
"This study shows just how complex relationships between predators and their prey can be," said Berger. "It's an important reminder that we often don't understand ecosystems nearly as well as we think we do, and that our efforts to manipulate them can have unexpected consequences."
The implications of unintended consequences from misunderstanding complex ecosystems.
Within the Young Earth Creation mindset, it is unfortunate that animal predation is considered "bad" or "evil". Such analysis, when one looks at the evidence within nature alongside that within God's Word, seems inadequate. Consider,
The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens. Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening.
O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.
These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
- Psalm 104:21-28 ESV (emphasis added)