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.

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