By 1LT Chris Post
In most movie zombie outbreaks, the infected wander about in search of human victims with their numbers growing exponentially and no natural predators. But in a real zombie pandemic, where would zombies fit in the new ecosystem over the long term?
It’s widely assumed that the zombie sickness makes its rotting, shambling corpse toxic to eat. However, if zombies could be safely consumed by wild animals, then there are several species that may claim rights to the top of the apocalyptic food chain.
In North America alone, a host of alpha predators might be up for the job. Wolves, mountain lions and grizzly bears have all had their populations reduced by the encroachment of modern man, but as the human population decreases in a catastrophic zombie plague, populations of other alpha predators would likely increase.
Wolves and grizzly bears are known to regularly feed on carrion–the rotting carcasses of dead animals. Carrion is an important food source for large carnivores and omnivores in most ecosystems around the world. Wolves and other predators also prefer to target and attack the weak, lame and sick.
While zombies possess many attributes that make them deadly opponents, they are most dangerous in groups. A solitary zombie, or even a small horde, would certainly be no match for an adult grizzly bear or pack of hungry wolves.
Though wild predators would probably not be enough to stop millions of hoarding zombies, human survivors may have an unexpected ally in Mother Nature when the dead rise. By contrast, if the zombie plague is toxic to all living creatures, then it may kill any animal dumb enough to take a bite.