05 January, 2009

Bring On The Uber-Cute hedgehogs!

Treehugger, I can't believe you said that... 

It's NEVER okay to bring in an outside species for any reason whatsoever.  In Australia alone, our two biggest "integration" stories are cane toads (now spread to almost half the places we human Aussies frequent and killing or supplanting hundreds if not thousands of native species) which were meant to control the cactoblastis moth.  It turned up it's bufus nose at the moth grubs and ate everything else in sight, and since it's poisonous, it also killed off most of its predators...

And rabbits...  (For which we ended up having to put up one of the longest continuous fences, the Rabbitproof Fence...)  Rabbits brought in partly for food, and partly for sport among the rapidly-increasing members of the well-to-do set.

We're still fighting a rabbit plague to this day, and losing the battle.  We're losing the battle to keep cane toads from spreading and destroying.  Can you see a common thread here?  The words "losing the battle."  You just can't import a species and expect that everyone will keep theirs locked up safely.  How's your battle with the sewer alligators going?  Squirrels?  And the hundreds of other out of place invasive imported species?

With our rabbits, also imported were foxes, which damage stocks of an animal we did also import for utility, the chicken.  Which, as any good imported species should be, is totally useless at surviving in the wild and supplanting native fauna. Yet our good friend and import, Brer Fox, is totally brilliant at eating chooks and native animals alike, and finds rabbits (which it was among other things imported to control) too much hard work.

And I won't speak about the damage abandoned pet cats and dogs do to the native fauna shall I?  Nor the spiders which arrive on loads of fruit at our seaports and have interbred creating several hundred new species of totally uncatalogued, totally unknown, and generally totally venomous spiders that are now spreading out all over the country and wreaking God knows what damage among native insects.  (The large majority of which we haven't even discovered yet and which will probably all be extinct before we get the chance to...)

So I'm sorry - as cute as hedgies may be, as cute as an 11-year old kid taking on the City Fathers and winning may be, as much as you paint that as a feel-good story, I just can't see a shred of ecological responsibility in the way you've chosen to report that.


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