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wildrose

can you say "idiots"?

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This story made me laugh yesterday when I read it in our local paper. I found the full copy online. It's just one of those times when I wonder why POPULATION CONTROL isn't implemented, rather than total elimination (i.e. messing with an established ecology). Let's face it, you remove the predators, you've got a problem! :

"It seemed like a good idea at the time: Remove all the feral cats from a famous Australian island to save the native seabirds.But the decision to eradicate the felines from Macquarie island allowed the rabbit population to explode and, in turn, destroy much of its fragile vegetation that birds depend on for cover, researchers said Tuesday.

Removing the cats from Macquarie "caused environmental devastation" that will cost authorities 24 million Australian dollars ($16.2 million) to remedy, Dana Bergstrom of the Australian Antarctic Division and her colleagues wrote in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.

"Our study shows that between 2000 and 2007, there has been widespread ecosystem devastation and decades of conservation effort compromised," Bergstrom said in a statement.

The unintended consequences of the cat-removal project show the dangers of meddling with an ecosystem — even with the best of intentions — without thinking long and hard, the study said.

"The lessons for conservation agencies globally is that interventions should be comprehensive, and include risk assessments to explicitly consider and plan for indirect effects, or face substantial subsequent costs," Bergstrom said.

Located about halfway between Australia and the Antarctic continent, Macquarie was designated a World Heritage site in 1997 as the world's only island composed entirely of oceanic crust. It is known for its wind-swept landscape, and about 3.5 million seabirds and 80,000 elephant seals arrive there each year to breed.

The cats, rabbits, rats and mice are all nonnative species to Macquarie, probably introduced in the past 100 years by passing ships. Authorities have struggled for decades to remove them.

The invader predators menaced the native seabirds, some of them threatened species. So in 1995, the Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania that manages Macquarie tried to undo the damage by removing most of the cats.

Several conservation groups including the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Birds Australia said the problem was not the original eradication effort itself — but that it didn't go far enough. They said the project should have taken aim at all the invasive mammals on the island at once.

"What was wrong was that the rabbits were not eradicated at the same time as the cats," University of Auckland Prof. Mick Clout, who also is a member of the Union's invasive species specialist group. "It would have been ideal if the cats and rabbits were eradicated at the same time, or the rabbits first and the cats subsequently."

Liz Wren, a spokeswoman for the Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania, said authorities were aware from the beginning that removing the feral cats would increase the rabbit population. But at the time, researchers argued it was worth the risk considering the damage the cats were doing to the seabird populations.

"The alternative was to accept the known and extensive impacts of cats and not do anything for fear of other unknown impacts," Wren said. "Since cats were eradicated, the grey petrel successfully bred on the island for the first time in a century and the recovery of Antarctic prions has continued since the eradication of feral cats."

Now, the parks service has a new plan to finish the job, using technology and poisons that weren't available a decade ago.

Wren said plans to eradicate both rabbits as well as rats and mice from the island will begin in 2010. Helicopters using global positioning systems will drop poisonous bait that targets all three pests. Later, teams will shoot, fumigate and trap the remaining rabbits, she said.

Some of the earlier critics are now behind this latest eradication effort, saying it should help the island's ecosystem fully recover because it would remove the last remaining invasive species.

"Without this action, there will be serious long-term consequences for the majestic seabirds which nest on the island including the four threatened albatross species, and for the health of the island ecosystem as a whole," said Dean Ingwersen, Bird Australia's threatened bird network coordinator.

"We believe that the process they are going to follow uses best practice for this type of work," Ingwersen said. "And that all possible ramifications have now been considered."

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Once again, the "experts" made a booboo! I thought they were immune from that?

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Hey - that's cool that that species of bird were finally able to reproduce successfully. I hope they manage to eradicate the other invasive species too.

I suppose this gives good information for other efforts like this. Well, that's how you learn... by making mistakes... The important thing is not to keep doing the same mistake over and over.

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How are they going to prevent the poison from killing everything? including the birdies. Poison is poison, and I don't think non target animals will be able to know not to eat it too.

Edited by Jordan

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Some other well meaning and un-informed idiot has now suggested that ferrets be released on Macquarie Island to knock off the bunnies! Now, the ferrets wouldn't think of harming any birds, would they? Just think, people get paid good money for dreaming up these schemes.

Tony.

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Some other well meaning and un-informed idiot has now suggested that ferrets be released on Macquarie Island to knock off the bunnies! Now, the ferrets wouldn't think of harming any birds, would they? Just think, people get paid good money for dreaming up these schemes.

Tony.

the ferrets could have one or two legs sewed halfway down ,before release ,thus limiting their ability to jump up and catch birds. pete

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the ferrets could have one or two legs sewed halfway down ,before release ,thus limiting their ability to jump up and catch birds. pete

They could take each ferret into a room ,hook it up to an

electric shock machine. Show a photo of the seabird and

shock the ferret. Then show a photo of a cute furry bunny

while giving the ferret food. Do this a few million times and

then get the next ferret in the room. A perfect plan if you

ask me.

WINDY ............Behavioral Scientist in the making.

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Similular story- Don't remember all the details but here goes. True story

A man could not catch any fish at the river near his summer home as he had in years past. He hired a marine biologist to do a study on the river to find out why there were no fish.

After a week of study he asked the man if he had seen any skunks around.

The man said the had a problem with them getting under the house, so he hired a trapper to come in and get rid of them.

The biologist said that is why you don't have any fish. Without the skunks the turtle population is getting bigger and eating all the fish eggs and smaller fish.

The skunks were eating the turtles and keeping their numbers down.

Is the moral of the story "fishing stinks" ??

Casey

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This is yet another example of the consequences of well-meaning but ill-considered tinkering with ecological balances.

In 1960 Mao Zedong ordered that all sparrows in China were to be eradicated, because they were eating too much grain. Truckloads of sparrows were killed, and the following year the harvest improved. A year later it was realised that sparrows also ate locusts, and when a plague of the insects devastated subsequent harvests, over 30 million people starved to death! Whoops!

Rabbits were introduced into the UK by the Romans in the 1st/2nd century, and to Australia in 1788, where they have been a nuisance ever since. Cane toads also colonised Australia in 1935, where they were intended to control the cane beetle; they have become a destructive addition to the eco-system.

The consequences of these introductions are not fully predictable, and can affect natural balances in unforeseen ways. It is unlikely that anyone will be able to look far enough into the future to be able to make changes of this sort with total confidence.

There are moves afoot to re-introduce wolves and beavers to the UK . . . ho hum . . . :eusa_naughty:

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When are we humans going to learn to quit #$%@ with the planet?

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Every specie changes something on this planet.

Human beings are a native specie. We change things.

Now, I know certain gags disagree with me, but the human beings belong here.

The surface of this planet has changed completely at least 6 times in it's 4,500,000,000 years. It's gonna change some more.

Some species live, some don't, others come along.

It's a cycle and we can't stop it.

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When are we humans going to learn to quit #$%@ with the planet?
well how about 2012 pete

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well how about 2012 pete

ROLF LOL I get it :rofl:

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I recently read a book about the Mayan calendar... December 22, 2012 is the date they predicted the world's end. I'm planning on going on vacation on that day.

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People will always argue about ecology

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Conservationists will talk about tolerance. I am sure that they do not know about special brood farms that do not participate in the ecological cycle of nature. These animals are used for consumption within a regulated range. I recently found a cool educational resource  https://envrexperts.com/ that talks about the real environmental issues we create. The use of plastic and other petroleum products initiates the destruction of real ecosystems.

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