Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cruel and Unusual - Environmental Biologists Attach Antennas On Endangered Desert Tortoises

Mankind is quite concerned with endangered species in nature. Environmentalists are trying to understand the balance, and intervene where they think it is necessary to prevent unfortunate changes which unbalance the cruel realities of the food chain. Anytime mankind tries to help one species over another, because perhaps it is endangered they are indeed altering the food chain, and there are bound to be unintended consequences because it is so complex and complicated. Okay so let's talk shall we?
Up along the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington state mankind has put in dams, but also salmon ladders for the fish to climb to get upstream. Because there is only one way up, large sea mammals hang out there to feed on the salmon as they come back upriver to spawn. The humans that created this dilemma have now decided that to save the salmon from this human made chokepoint, they have gotten environmental permission to shoot the sea mammals. However, this is their natural food supply, and has been for millions of years. Further they are saving trying to save a fish by shooting a mammal - who's side are they on? A decent and rhetorical question, I suppose.
Okay so, in doing this the large sea mammals just sit around and wait for the salmon, rather than having to battle the flow of the river to get their meal. This is causing the sea mammals to become fat, dumb, and happy just like humans that are now getting diabetes and they don't exercise enough while getting food stamps. Okay so, that was one example, and let me give you another example of how humans disrupt nature with unintended consequences, all the while claiming to be helping the environment.
You see, the other day I was talking to a wildlife biologist fieldworker. She was somewhat aloof, and had a little shade of academic arrogance, perhaps because she had a degree in her scientific field. She explained to me how they stuck on sensors and satellite antennas on the shells of Desert Tortoises. She said at first biologists were putting the antennas in the wrong spot on the females, therefore the males could not mount the female for mating purposes. This is an endangered species, and therefore the mating process is extremely important, without procreation their numbers will dwindle, rather than recover.
Eventually they figured this out. But then I asked if the Desert Tortoises burrow underground and live there 95% of the time, doesn't the antenna get in their way? She said no because the epoxy was very strong, and antennas were very durable. That's not why I asked. The reason why I was concerned with this is because that species has been digging burrows of a certain height, and has evolved with certain types of claws and a body structure to dig that size of tunnels.
By altering the height by a few more inches, they might get stuck inside on a rock, or find difficulties digging in areas which are now unsuitable, and all of this goes against their body's evolutionary design, and the species normal natural habitat behavior, and what about camouflage from predators? Apparently, no one has addressed that, which I find too bad. Not that I am an environmentalist, but the hypocrisy involved, and the inability of academic biologists to think outside the box, or even understand what they are doing bothers me.
It could very well be that a male tortoise doesn't want to mate with a female tortoise, which has some ugly thing on its back, or a female tortoise may find the male an inappropriate mate because it doesn't look right with that extra protrusion on top, and ugly grow, something non-symmetrical for instance. Do you see my point? Maybe some folks need to rethink what they're doing and stop causing so many unintended consequences in nature. I thought these folks claimed to be environmentalists, why are they so busy modifying everything that they see without considering all the ramifications? Please consider all this and think on it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Habits of Desert Creatures and Human Intervention Considered

The other day, I was talking to a wildlife biologist, someone working as a field worker who was an expert on the California Desert Tortoise. It is an endangered species in case you hadn't realized, and although I knew that, I am not in fear that this species which has adapted over millions of years is going to leave us anytime soon. Since these tortoises spend most of their time underground burrows, almost 95% of their time where it is cooler, we don't see them that often. But that doesn't mean they aren't there, maybe they are hiding from humans, hell I would if I were them, we don't actually have a very good record when it comes to animals in the wild. Okay so let's talk shall we?
My acquaintance mentioned to me that ravens like to eat the California Desert Tortoise's eggs, and since they only lay eggs seasonally, and only 4 to 6 eggs at a time, it is imperative that more of these eggs hatch or the Desert Tortoise will not be able to procreate fast enough to survive in an ever decreasing area due to mankind's development. As she was explaining all this to me, she told me a story that made her very upset. It turns out that she saw a ravens nest, and underneath it were least 20 or 30 cracked eggs, all from the Desert Tortoise, broken shells proving that it is one of the favorite foods for the Raven, something she was already aware of due to her studies.
She did not disturb the ravens nest because it is also part of the food chain and the natural environment. This is just how nature does things, and humans must understand that. Nevertheless, she explained to me that humans often dumped their trash in the middle of the desert, and this attracted the ravens, and because there were so many birds around that area, which normally wouldn't be there in such abundance, they also went out to hunt whatever else they could find. There were very few lizards in the area, and the population of California Desert Tortoises was not increasing, which is a concern for environmentalists concerned with endangered species.
Had mankind not dumped trash in the middle of the desert, there would be fewer ravens in that given area in such large populations. And since the ravens have a fairly large territory, it practically made a dead zone for these tortoises in that area.
She explained to me that not only does the encroachment of mankind through housing tracts, and business properties limit the ability of this endangered species to repopulate, but also the trash they have strewn across the desert unbalances the food chain. So, not only is the trash sickening to look at, it alters the environment, nature, and changes the habitat, hunting grounds, and behavior in food chain of all the critters in the region. Please consider all this and think on it.