Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Revenge of the Endangered Species

I noticed an article at UPI describing how rebounding elephant populations are raising Hell in Zambia. The story reminded me of a similar story heard on NPR about bad eagles in Alaska. Both iconic creatures have been protected for decades, and this seems to have worked to boost head counts. But now the creatures are getting their revenge.

In Zambia, “elephants trample crops and have killed four people, including two children, in the last year,” reports UPI. After hitting a low of 7,000, the elephant population there has risen to 30,000.

Up in Alaska, after years of protection, there are actually more bald eagles than there are people, reports NPR. There are so many that some Alaskans consider the birds a nuisance. Eagles are scavengers, so they swarm around landfills and fish-processing plants. Sometimes, after grabbing scraps and flying away, eagles will loose their grip leading to “cod guts and heads falling on cars all over the place,” said one resident. “Coastal Alaskans look at bald eagles the way New Yorkers look at pigeons,” said an NPR reporter.

I take the elephants and the eagle’s side on this one. Humans have been pushing around animals and wiping them out for centuries. Who’s the more adaptable species here? If we (humans) need to move our homes and farms or change business practices to enrich biodiversity, then shouldn’t we?

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.