Monday, March 17, 2008
There Is No Silver Bullet
It is axiomatic that endangered animal populations already very sick from the acute and chronic effects of humans, when confronted with bad environmental conditions, break, and disappear.
This is how the AIDS virus kills people. You die of pneumonia or staph infection -- but the real killer is AIDS. Death by 1,000 cuts is another accurate analogy.
A lot of otherwise intelligent biologists, scientists, public officials and citizens often try in vain to find the "silver bullet" that is causing the decline of a species, such as Atlantic salmon.
It is very rare for one thing to extirpate a species. Even the Great Extinctions of the Permian and Cretaceous (the dinosaur extinction) are thought to have played out over millions of years and had numerous contributing causes.
Everything that kills an animal kills an animal. Every killed animal is one that is not alive. Animals must be alive to give birth to their children. Therefore, all impacts are important and deserve our attention.
Shifting the blame is not a recovery strategy for endangered animals, any more than it is for alcoholics.