Born Free USA Blog
Albert Einstein once said, “The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking. ... If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.”
Although not perhaps on Einstein’s level, each of us has done something with a positive result in mind, only to have the well-intentioned something explode in our faces. Some medicines, for example, can cause horrific side effects.
“Unintended consequences” can victimize more than just humans, of course. For example, today the Huffington Post introduced a nine-item blog, with catchy photographs, illustrating that “Exotic Animals And Plants Wreaking Havoc Around The World.”
We see how the American mink, after being introduced to the United Kingdom in 1929 for fur farms, has managed to become a threat to native mammals, fish and birds. The Nile perch, whose enormity (up to 6 feet long!) prompted someone to introduce it to Lake Victoria, now is blamed for “wiping out over 200 fish species” in Africa. The small Indian mongoose, from Asia, is gobbling up birds, turtles and other native creatures in the Americas. Parakeets, native to the Himalayas, bully other birds in London.
Then there are the notorious rabbits of Australia. Introduced 150 years ago to give hunters another target, today they are a $600 million (annually!) problem Down Under, gobbling up some native plants to near extinction. Shoot or poison 80 percent of the rabbits, it’s said, and within a year they’ll be back to their pre-kill population.
Solutions to these human-caused wildlife problems, if they exist at all, will require a tremendous amount of planning, expense and, probably, time. What we can do now — what you can do to help — is rally around whatever efforts are being made to preclude such situations in the future. For example, Born Free USA has a campaign to encourage passage of the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act. You can e-mail your congressional representative today to express your support.
Who knows? Your well-intentioned act could very well lead to positive change.