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The wildlife manager's job is to maintain the number of animals in a habitat at or below the habitat's carrying capacity so that no damage is done to the animals or to their habitat.

In a sense, a wildlife manager's task is similar to a rancher's. Just as a rancher will limit the number of animals in a cattle herd to a level that the habitat can tolerate, wildlife managers try to keep the number of animals in balance with their habitat. In addition to looking at the total number of each species in a habitat, wildlife managers also monitor the breeding stock—the correct mix of adult and young animals needed to sustain a population.

Model of the breeding potential of a single pair of deer

To manage a habitat, wildlife managers must consider historical trends, current habitat conditions, breeding population levels, long-term projections, and breeding success. With that knowledge, wildlife managers have a variety of practices at their disposal to keep habitats in balance.