Monday, April 25, 2011
"Management" to Zero
It might seem to some that my posting from yesterday ("All Roads Leading Here -- Extinction") might seem overly dramatic or exaggerated.
I would like to think that, too.
But, I can't.
It would certainly be reasonable to figure that if Canada goose numbers were to drop precipitously in the country to near-extinction levels (as they did in the middle of the last century) "wildlife biologists" and hunters would again take immediate action to capture, clip wings and captively breed the geese as they did to eventually bring us to the point we are at now.
Obviously, the federal "optimum population" of Canada geese is that number which is suitable and sustainable for hunters to shoot at.
However, the problem is, that many geese apparently figured this out and instead of putting themselves out in the rural skies for hunters to shoot at, many instead fled to "safe" and protected areas like public parks, golf courses, shopping malls or cemeteries.
Apparently wildlife biologists didn't figure on the geese being clever and adaptable. And apparently, wildlife biologists didn't figure either on the geese being extremely exemplary parents, mating for life and protecting their young like the crown jewels.
So now we have the situation of wildlife biologists essentially wanting to undo their prior "mistake" of releasing American-born Canada geese throughout the United States, where the native geese essentially outsmarted our attempts to "manipulate, manage, control" and now destroy a "game bird."
This would all be quite funny, if it weren't in fact so pathetic.
But, to quote, Dr. Phil: "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."
It seems there were many factors of bird behavior and natural forces that wildlife biologists didn't consider when hatching their plans to "restore" the dwindling populations of Canada geese that hunters and destruction of natural habitat had almost entirely wiped out.
Why should we believe they are considering all factors now that effect animal behavior, breeding patterns and abilities to actually procreate?
Factors (as pointed out yesterday) such as climate change and natural (and not so natural) disasters?
Hundreds of oil spills, destruction of natural wetlands, droughts, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns, melting polar caps, and tornados. ALL of these are bound to adversely effect wildlife populations. Especially when they occur during natural bird nesting periods.
Would we even recognize if an animal species population has become so low that even our human attempts to "restore" numbers are insufficient to achieve actual redemption?
Presently, many species of penguins are in danger of extinction due primarily to humans over-fishing the birds' food supply (particularly, sardines.)
Can we save the penguins?
Because it would require serious restrictions on the human activity of fishing.
Thousands of animal and plant species are currently going extinct throughout the world.
Most of them due to human destruction of rainforests, wetlands and the rest of the natural environment. (We call this "development" but it could well represent a case of humans overpopulating.)
But, Canada geese are quite literally, in our own back yard of city parks and urban areas.
Will we participate in and tolerate attempts at animal extinction in our own neighborhoods?
Currently, at Prospect Park in Brooklyn (the site where 368 Canada geese and their goslings were secretly rounded up and gassed last summer), there are posted signs warning people to not feed waterfowl. The signs warn of birds potentially being "crowded" when in fact, there are hardly any geese at all on the lake.
Community residents report less than 50 geese in the entire area of Prospect Park. Yet, there are plans next month to send Border Collies to harass and chase whatever geese are there, as well as plans to oil any eggs that any hapless geese might dare to lay.
Kind of like Central Park sending out "Geese Relief" last November to harass the birds out of Harlem Meer when there were in fact, less than 25 geese on the entire lake. Most geese had already migrated south. However, the goose harassment action DID "succeed" in chasing out all the shovelers, mallards and even one swan from Harlem Meer.
I don't know what others might call irrational actions like these, but I call them "Management to Extinction."
Apparently, the "optimum" population of resident Canada geese accepted in many of our public parks, (especially, Prospect Park) is zero.
Management to zero, is in fact, management to extinction. -- PCA