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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Changing Habitats

I stumbled across a dead iguana the other day. I don’t know why it died or if something killed it. A couple of days later I saw another iguana strolling along the edge of the pond. I would guess they were both 24” and better in size. I asked a native when we got iguanas since I have been coming here for 15 years and had never seen one before. His response was, “we don’t have iguanas.” After I assured him that we do, he suggested that one of the new developments had chased them out of their habitat and they were looking for a new home. It seems like a golf course community would be a positive environment for an iguana but obviously at least one of them didn’t find it so hospitable.

Humans differ from animals in that we change habitats consistently and often. We jump in the car when it gets cold and go to where it is hot or vice a versa. We seem to be able to thrive in most any type of environment. I’m dismayed over my lack of broadband but I can remedy that by going to the public library and jumping on there. Our animal buddies don’t have the same opportunities.

My home environment is over run by white tailed deer. One of the local townships hired a hit squad to come in and thin the herds. That act received considerable emotional response for all sides. The hunter were ticked off that they weren’t allowed to kill the deer. The farmers were delighted that someone was killing the deer. The deluded but compassionate were dismayed anyone was killing bambi. Sad truth is that the deer population has run amuck. There are no natural predators so they reproduce ad nausea. This plays hell with the farms and also the highways. Our county has the largest number of road kill in the state. That road kill is indicative of an enormous amount of money spent on auto repair, let alone the toll of human suffering on the folks unlucky enough to be injured or killed trying to avoid hitting a deer. There is a distinct lack of habitat for deer in the county. Not only have we destroyed their habitat we have destroyed the predator that kept their population in check, leading to starvation and disease. Did I mention we also have some of the highest incidents of Lyme disease in the state, thanks to the deer tics?

There really isn’t a good solution. Bringing in cougars or wolves would thin the deer population and outrage the pet owners. Designating preserves won’t keep the deer in the preserve. The habitat has changed and won’t be changing back any time soon. Human impact on the environment is obvious and most frequently negative. I see no answer, I am a contributor to global warming no matter how much I recycle, curb my driving and gasoline consumption, replant trees I take down, my personal impact is still negative on the environment and the creatures I share that environment with. After listening to the latest UFO sighting in Texas on this morning’s news, I can only hope that if we are being evaluated by aliens that they have more tolerance and better environmental standards than we do, or we’re toast.

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