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IVORY-BILLS  LiVE???!  ...

=> THE blog devoted to news and commentary on the most iconic bird in American ornithology, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO)... and... sometimes other schtuff.

Web ivorybills.blogspot.com

"....The truth is out there."

-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

-- Hamlet

"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer

Monday, March 08, 2010


-- "Wild Echoes" --


An older book on endangered species that I've long liked is Charles Bergman's "Wild Echoes" (1990). Just a couple of passages:
"I have come to view endangered species as another of the great topics that challenge our certainties...
"Yet, in their imperiled status, endangered species represent a paradox: Though they
are the result of our long obsession with power over nature, they embody the limits of that power. They are a mirror, not of our stunning triumphs over nature but of our failures...
"They are also symbols in which we can read who we are. When we look at endangered species, we can learn not just about animals but about ourselves...
"We are living in an age of loss --- more loss, even, than occurred in the Pleistocene. I want only to see the truth about life in our times. I'm not interested in making sure I feel good about myself, and I don't think that focusing on loss is simply negative thinking. It is honesty --- about life and about ourselves. Extinction has become a part of the meaning of our lives. It's happening around us, If you just look, you can literally see it happening. You're a witness to death on a scale unknown before in history and prehistory. There is really no debate, except over the extent of the catastrophe...
"...something else has happened with the rise of endangered species in North America: We now have a totally new, totally modern category of animals --- shadowland creatures, neither certainly extinct nor certainly living..."
Chapter 9 of the book is his lyrical ode to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, including his own search for the bird in the Atchafalaya Basin (La.), and his basically pessimistic view that the species could possibly linger on. The book was written well before Kullivan or the Big Woods or the Choctawhatchee or... whatever. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
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In a similar vein, I watched a preview of the following video last summer and found it outstanding. In this instance, the issue isn't extinction per se, but rather threatened species that had been extirpated from vast areas and were successfully reintroduced despite widespread opposition.


"Lords of Nature: Land of the Great Predators" details the events of the last fifteen years and the wholesale renewal of the entire ecosystem that accompanied it. Briefly, what happened included the recovery of stream banks and riparian areas along waterways because elk could no longer safely congregate in those areas and wreck havoc with their numbers. Aspen--an excellent food source--also recovered as well for similar reasons.

What absolutely captured me, however, were the way "win-win" solutions were promoted; out here in the Wild West many hold wolves and cougars in lower esteem than horse thieves, but successful techniques were put forth and encouraged for protecting livestock while wolves were around.

A nice triumph for reason and creativity over superstition and fear, for once . . .
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