Thursday, May 27, 2010

A shameful day for mankind!

Nothing special, or of particular note, despite many uncommon migrants being about in the UK overall. Our turn next? A quite cold northerly wind prevails and doesn't help matters. Local birds are busy feeding young and the adjacent moors are beginning, very gradually , to quieten.

Yesterday Birdlife International announced within its update if the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's ( IUCN ) Red List for Birds that the Alaotra Grebe should now be considered extinct. This species lived, and was confined to a tiny area in the east of Madagascar, where it was present on various lakes. Due to the introduction of carnivorous fish, and to nylon gill nets which fisherman used to catch them and which the grebes were often caught up in and drowned, the species has reduced rapidly in recent years. It is now FOREVER no longer a constituent member of our global biodiversity.

Besides the sadness and frustration one inevitably feels various other emotions arise too. Whilst we may be the highest evolved form of life on this planet, do we have a right to neglect other "constituents" such that they reach their final fate? Madagascar is renowned for its unique wildlife with various international organizations , studies and goodness knows what else based or operating there. Yes, it's a difficult environment and doubtless difficult challenges are present, but in this case we were dealing with a restricted area, several lakes and a population known to be very small. Perhaps the question ought to be asked why such irresponsible actions were allowed by the local fisherman at EVERY site and what was done to prevent such? Endless monitoring has its place, but surely there comes a time when the initiative needs to be grasped and inspired actions taken outside of the confines of air conditioned offices and prevaricating officialdom. Having said that my sentiments are also with the guys on the ground, who no doubt addressed the odds and difficulties, but were defeated in the end by minimal resources and the prevalent attitude amongst a large sector of mankind, including said officialdom despite agreements and the like, that wildlife and our natural environments are there for our use and abuse and not present as equal "partners" in our stewardship of this planet.

Not a day to be proud of in my opinion and, sadly, I suspect there will be more!

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