Unintended Consequences

On the small Australian island of Macquarie, environmentalists took harsh measures with… upleasant results. In order to rescue sea birds nesting there, the island’s nonnative feral cat population was killed. Which led to a surge in the population of invasive rabbits. Which, in turn, has destroyed much of the plant life that serves as habitat for… you guessed it… Macquarie’s sea birds. Caught this story on Yahoo! News, from the AP:

“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.

These environmentalists who no doubt fought long and hard to Save the Birds are cut from the same cloth as American and international groups who insist they be given oversight of American industries to fight global warming. Admittedly, concerned parties in this case are aware of where they fell short:

“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.”

Maybe, when a 2010 initiative to remove the invasive rabbit species is complete, all will be well on Macquarie. Nonetheless, the story scares me a bit. Wiping out one population of critters goes horribly wrong, and the environmentalist’s response is to brush himself off and plan another critter’s removal. What happens if the Obama administration takes similarly desperate measures to stop “climate change,” and cripples American businesses in the process? America will be blamed for the horrible global effects that somehow were not predicted, and Presidential advisors will go to work tweaking their formulas and carbon pricing charts.

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One thought on “Unintended Consequences

  1. I got to your site via your comment re climate change on the OSU site. Your comment wasn’t showing until after I had written and submitted mine. Had to laugh when I saw we said some of the exact same things. As an OSU employee, I’ll probably get laughed off campus. Oh well. I see by your website that you, too, are a believer.
    And that you like Mark Steyn…he rocks!

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