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Like the death of a phoenix, the blackened spires of what was once a climax forest, seems like a tragedy. So many regal, soft, and hard, wood trees destroyed. Yet what comes from the ashes is a new start of something equally beautiful. The birth of a new phoenix, and also of a new forest.
The picture on last week’s front page shows that only a year later the ecology of the area has been in action with the shrubbery and flowers of a new birth. How many animals will benefit from this show of fertility in a place that was an acidic wasteland, caused by decomposing needles?
Man, in his ignorance, would stop this, with what would seem intelligent intervention. It is these types of activities that most often have historically backfired. Bringing the English sparrow to fight a species of moth and finding that this aggressive species quickly shoved local species from their natural niche. Then, in an attempt to counter the sparrow’s injection, brought in the British starling. We have seen how that worked out.
Nature’s acts of population control are often savage and brutal, predators being the least of these. They kill quickly.
Let’s address the story about the poor prairie dogs. Don’t get me wrong, they are cute, but there are many people out there that would not want to see them protected from one of nature’s natural population control vectors — bubonic plague.
OK, the plague didn’t originate here in North America. It didn’t originate in Europe either, but rather Eastern Asia and brought west when Marco Polo opened the trade route. Medieval Europe’s population was devastated. Yes, modern medicine would have prevented it. The working word there is “modern.” The continent was overpopulated concerning the level of sanitation present.
In North America’s recent past, post WWI, we saw a virulent infection of influenza devastate our continent’s human population. It was brought here by returning military. Like the plague, it was not native to our continent, but it served, in the end, to strengthen our population against the bird flu. Its official name was the Spanish Flu. The surviving population now has a genetic resistance to the bird flu variety.
The question I have is whether the prairie dog, no matter the breed, is not over populated? Plague, no matter where it came from, controls this, and is free. As written in the article, plague kills whole towns. Is this bad? I think not. It is but nature’s way of controlling things. When will man learn not to stick their noses where they shouldn’t? Education about not getting near a dead rodent (not just a prairie dog), until the fleas have jumped ship, and die of starvation, is the better solution. More distance between dog towns will solve this problem in the end, and the plague will accomplish that.