October 3, 2009

Conservation v. Diversity

A long-time reader points to this Daily Mail article on a British brouhaha:
Plan to legalise parakeet shoots branded 'racist' by wildlife experts

A move to shoot ring-necked parakeets to cut their numbers has been branded 'racist' by wildlife experts.

Natural England yesterday announced that from January it will relax rules protecting the exotic birds.

The birds have been blamed for destroying crops and bullying smaller native species in the hunt for food and nesting space.

But London Wildlife Trust said there is 'little evidence' that a cull of parakeets - with their bright green plumage, red beaks and ear-piercing screech - is justified.

It added that parakeets, which originate from the Himalayas, are 'as British as curry' and represent the London's cultural and historical diversity. ...

With up to 40,000 of the wild parrots thought to be in London and the South-East, in areas such as Richmond Park, it feared that they could soon outnumber native species in the way that the red squirrel population has been dominated by grey squirrels.

Matthew Heydon, Natural England’s licensing expert, said: “It’s true that at the present time the scale of this problem is relatively minor.

'That is because the birds are relatively limited in their distribution, but as they spread out of London you can expect the problem to get more severe.

'The closest example is the grey squirrel. Now there isn’t a hope in hell of removing the grey squirrel from Britain, and the red squirrel is hanging on by a thread.'

Mr Heydon warned it was not “open season” on parakeets and said the rules would be tightened if too many were killed. But he said one farmer in Cobham had lost enough grapes in a day to make 3,000 bottles of wine after they were eaten by parakeets.

Yes, but that's merely 3,000 bottles of English wine. ....
About 40,000 parakeets are thought to be in London and the South-East alone. Legend has it the birds escaped from Shepperton Studios in Surrey, during filming of the 1951 movie The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.

The rocker Jimi Hendrix is also said to have released two parakeets as an alternative symbol of peace in the 1960s.

Other species also added to the 'general licence' hit-list include the monk parakeet from South America, which can occasionally be found in the northern Home Counties, the Canada goose and the Egyptian goose.

... Natural England chief executive Helen Phillips said there was a 'vital' need to control exotic and non-native species.

'Non-native species are a major threat to global biodiversity and it is important that licences can operate as an effective tool in helping to tackle the problem,' she said. ...

* No one knows where the UK's wild parrots come from. One theory is that a pair escaped from a container in Heathrow airport.
* Since they started breeding in the wild in 1969, the ring necked parakeet has become London's 15th most common bird.
* They nest so early in the year - often in January - that they use up the good holes and nest boxes, driving away native species such as woodpeckers.
* In Esher, Surrey, one roost has an estimated 7,000 noisy birds.
* Also known as rose necked parakeets, they were kept as pets by the Ancient Greeks and Romans.
* The birds originate from the foothills of the Himalayas - so can cope with the chilly British weather.

A flock of about a dozen green parrots, presumably escaped pets, flies squawking over my house frequently. The make a pleasant diversion. On the other hand, a flock of about 200 parrots, said to have escaped when a pet store truck overturned on the freeway, took up residence on my aunt's street in Arcadia in the early 1970s and made life almost intolerable with their dawn squawking.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any thinking person would have to know that PC/multicult lunacy is trans-species. If the only belief you have is in the destruction of boundaries there can be no logical limit to the madness.

Imagine a wholly destructive philosophy that is total in its scope. Now paint a happy face over its scowling hate filled visage. Congratulations! You have reinvented modern, utopian, barking mad liberalism as we know it.

Fellow Traveller said...

You still need to apply to Natural England and receive a license from them before you can shoot (assuming they allow that as a method) any of these birds. You'd also need a separate license for the weapon - much more difficult to obtain as here in the UK we have extremely strict gun control laws that most Americans would consider fascistic (all handguns banned, and shotguns/rifles permitted with extremely tough restrictions on ownership - usually available only to significant landowners such as farmers or people who go on professionally organised shoots of game or clay pigeons i.e. not casual weekend hunters a la The Deer Hunter or Deliverance who head into the hills as they please which seems to be the case in America).

Air pistols and rifles don't have any license requirement (although campaigners have called for their ban because of a limited number of child deaths through accident every year).

However any person openly wielding anything that even resembles a firearm (such as an air weapon) in a British city would very likely end up dead at the hands of the specialized armed police units (within minutes of stepping out on the street normally). Most British people find firearms terrifying and will report anyone seen in their area with one or who appears to have one on them. They won't discriminate between legal air weapons and the rest. And open carrying is not permitted. Even walking in public with a child's toy gun can result in criminal charges if a bystander perceives it as threatening.

Lack of familiarity leads to armed police confronting unarmed citizens because of mis-identification by members of the public - such as a bloke a year ago whom a woman reported for wielding a gun when he only had adjusted his iPod while waiting for a bus. Armed police surrounded him in the street shortly after her complaint. Fortunately his total compliance with their instructions prevented his death.

So don't expect to hear stories of groups of armed Brits bagging parakeets on the streets of London any time soon. Sorry to disappoint the romantics.

Anonymous said...

If curtailing these particular destructive and obnoxious invaders is allowed, who knows where it may end. Oh the horror of it!

Anonymous said...

Just to add to what Fellow Traveller said, gun crime and the carrying of (illegal) guns has never been more common in Britain than today. Why its almost as if some groups were being allowed to carry.

ironrailsironweights said...

The parrots of Brooklyn have gained a measure of local fame.

Peter

John Cunningham said...

the very concept of "invasive species" is a purely human construct. If a researcher has not been in an ecosystem previously, she would have no way of determining what is an "invasive species."

Anonymous said...

Sort of like South Asians and West Indians in Britain.

Svigor said...

Any thinking person would have to know that PC/multicult lunacy is trans-species. If the only belief you have is in the destruction of boundaries there can be no logical limit to the madness.

Maybe. What's for sure is that the good leftist knows to nip this sort of thing ("Non-native species are a major threat to global biodiversity and it is important that licences can operate as an effective tool in helping to tackle the problem," and "the birds have been blamed for destroying crops and bullying smaller native species in the hunt for food and nesting space") in the bud. Don't need Aesop to figure out this is sending the wrong message.

The funny part is the leftists co-opting the race card to save birds.

Anonymous said...

Any thinking person would have to know that PC/multicult lunacy is trans-species.

Oh, you ain't seen nothing yet:


Did apes descend from us?
Joseph Hall
Oct 01, 2009 10:25 AM
thestar.com

...The research brings into question the belief that our most distant ancestors descended from apes.

What's closer to the truth is that our knuckle dragging cousins descended from us.

That's one of the shocking new theories being drawn from a series of field-altering anthropology papers published today in a special edition of the journal Science...

"It is probably the most important find we have had yet," says Owen Lovejoy, a biological anthropologist at Ohio's Kent State University...

"In a way we're saying that the old idea that we evolved from a chimpanzee is totally incorrect," he says. "It's more proper to say that chimpanzees evolved from us."

(Could that line of thinking evoke howls of outrage is some creationist quarters? "Oh God yes," Lovejoy laughs.)...



I should point out that that version of the story ran in Canada; as far as I can tell, almost all of the versions in the USA press omit that most intriguing little morsel of information.

For instance, neither the version in the LA Times nor the version in the NY Times nor the version in the Washington Post mentions the possibility that humanoid DEvolution might have produced the apes.

Concerned Netizen said...

Maybe Chicagoland can try for the Gay Games, again.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-10-02/let-the-gay-games-begin/?cid=hp:beastoriginalsL4

"Just how gay are the Gay Games? As far as the sports go, not that different. Football is football no matter which team you play for. But there are some differences. The Gay Games, for example, has ballroom dancing—and the dancers are all same-sex couples. (It's up to each competing couple to decide who leads.) And forget about basketball and track and field. "The most popular sports at the Gay Games are diving, water polo, and bodybuilding," says Cyd Ziegler, who covered the last two Gay Games for OutSports.com. "Essentially anything where you have to take your clothes off."

Anonymous said...

In San Francisco we have the green parrots of North Beach. once upon a time someone let go or allowed to escape a couple of parrots. I have not followed them but there are about 40 parrots that fly around the coit tower. Pretty cool.

Muswell Hillbilly said...

On the other hand, a flock of about 200 parrots, said to have escaped when a pet store truck overturned on the freeway, took up residence on my aunt's street in Arcadia in the early 1970s and made life almost intolerable with their dawn squawking.

Really? Is that where those frickin' things came from? I grew up in Arcadia and there were hundreds of those bastards just confined to our street, on Louise Ave, just off Camino Real.

Why couldn't we have been like the folks who lived near the Arboretum? Their exotic wildlife was peacocks.

Steve Sailer said...

"I grew up in Arcadia and there were hundreds of those bastards just confined to our street, on Louise Ave, just off Camino Real."

My aunt lives about a half mile to the southwest of where you grew up. From May through August, nobody could sleep past 5am due to the sunrise squawking.

That's the thing -- diversity is cute in small numbers, but how do you know the numbers will stay small?

Jim Bowery said...

An invasive species is distinguished from normal evolution by the involvement of technology. Humans create these invasions and can take responsibility for them.

Anyone who thinks that all of what has been going on during the 10,000 year explosion is "evolution" in any ordinary sense has no business using frontal lobes or opposable thumbs.

Drawbacks said...

The best British parrot story is, however, the one about 10 million shopping bags in Kazakhstan. (Somewhat overwritten account here).

Anonymous said...

For shame, Steve-you're a former Chicagoan and you don't mention Hyde Park's Monk parakeets, a story which even has a connection to Harold Washington.

David said...

> Did apes descend from us? <

Sheesh, that's an old Mencken eye-roller. "It's even harder for the average ape to believe he was descended from man." Written around the time of the Scopes Monkey Trial (1927).

What relativists love to do is "overturn the paradigm." Just turn any accepted theory on its head and you are automatically bleeding edge - the more established the theory, the better. The sun is hot? No - the sexy new theory is that the sun is actually COLD. Man descended from ape-like creatures? No - apes decended from him! Wild! The book deal follows.

Your lying eyes tell you something is wrong? No - if you merely learn to blink at the appropriate moments, you'll know everything is actually great!

Also remember the brilliant genius (forgot the name) who rose to immortality by "proving" that 2 + 2 does not actually equal 5. His legion of followers are the hippest people on the planet (according to themselves). Wouldn't want to cross a bridge they constructed, though.

Science sometimes does come up with counterintuitive theories; but what we're seeing now is not science - it's process without content. I.e., epater le bourgeoise (shock the middle class) for the sake of the scandal and attention, and never mind the accuracy of the real model behind the theorems. We celebrate people who smash everything, whether in war, on stage in a rock concert, in theoretical physics, or in social policy, so smashing becomes an end in itself, just as money becomes an end in itself, no matter how ill it's gotten (by predatory securitizing, blackmail, bubble manias, etc.) Process without content; merely imitating the form of the thing. It's akin to the Cargo Cult Mentality I discussed elsewhere.

That said, it seems substantively true that devolution is going on lately after a fashion, particularly in the white population. For details, visit your local Wal-Mart.

David said...

Actually equal 4, I should have said. In fact it equals anything but 4 in the sexy new theories.

Hey, if Einstein got where he did by smashing something (the former understanding of the physical world, or so say idiots), then all I gotta do is smash something, and I will be as great as Einstein.

ben tillman said...

You'd also need a separate license for the weapon - much more difficult to obtain as here in the UK we have extremely strict gun control laws that most Americans would consider fascistic....

Americans don't consider anything "fascistic". It's simply not a term the Left uses over here.

RobertHume said...

"the very concept of "invasive species" is a purely human construct. If a researcher has not been in an ecosystem previously, she would have no way of determining what is an "invasive species.""

That's not correct. Continental drift, over hundreds of millions of years, has generated distinct species that may seem similar.

Insects have evolved along with them to feed on those particular plants.

In the US the Norway maple will have three insect species feeding on it, while a native sugar maple will have 300, ... living in equilibrium so the tree does not die.

As a result there are far fewer insects in suburbia than there otherwise would be.

As a result our birds have less to eat and many are moving toward extinction, since cropland and invaded forests also provide little food.

It's easy to define invasive species.

anony-mouse said...

Free exotic birds for anyone!

And people say there's been no improvement in people's lives in the last 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Louise Ave, just off Camino Real

I used to work at Methodist Hospital, just up the street from there (well, up and over).