I Heart Indies

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Apologies for the Invasive Species

In the 1898 Exposition in Philadelphia, Kudzu was first introduced to the United States from Japan.  It proved able to out-compete native species for resources, especially light, growing completely over them.  It is estimated to be spreading at a rate of 150,000 acres a year.

Please accept our sincerest apologies.

In the 1980's, a disgruntled aquarium owner dumped out his tank, releasing a colorful exotic lion fish into the Atlantic.  Now they have spread everywhere from the Bahamas to the Carolina Coast and along the Gulf of Mexico.  There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of them.  They can only be caught one-at-a-time spearfishing or in hand-held nets.  They have poisonous spines, and no natural predators in this area.  They are quickly decimating natural reefs and wildlife.

Sorry about that.

A zoo or private owner released a Burmese Python near the Florida Everglades.  Now they have overrun the place, eating everything from marsh rabbits to American crocodiles.  (Yes, there is such a thing, although perhaps not for long.)  They are an "apex species" meaning they are at the top of the food chain, and their coloring makes it hard to detect them or get an accurate count of their numbers.  They have already permanently damaged the Everglade ecosystem.

Our bad.

1.8 million years ago, small bands of modern humans began migrating from Africa.  Now there are over 7 billion of us.  We have no natural predators and are voracious consumers.  We have already driven numerous species to extinction, changed natural habitats beyond recognition, and even altered the earth's climate.  And we're just getting started.


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