Last year on the 18th October 2010, the Australian Department of Sustainability and Environment issued a 12-month permit to the Northern Metropolitan Institute of TAFE (a government adult education facility) to cull up to 300 kangaroos living within its 320 hectare horse farm on Eden Park. The permit to kill these iconic animals was approved on grounds that they had been compromising the food supply of the horses being raised within the area.
According to wildlife management group Ecoplan which was commissioned to do an independent report required by the Australian Government prior to issuing the permit, the operation was to be planned in such a way as to “mimic natural selection” through a properly managed shooting of the animals over the course of three years…
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â€œTo achieve the result that was recommended youâ€™d have to do so (shoot) for another two years or possibly more,â€ [according to Ecoplan zoologist Bryan Walters]. â€œIt would be too disturbing to the ecology if you did it too quickly. The aim is to mimic natural selection.â€
What could it be like to be a kangaroo in the midst of such a situation?
Well, for one thing, you wouldn’t have a clue why every now and then the sound of a gunshot would ring out and why, every now and then, one of your buddies or family members would suddenly drop to the ground dead following that mysterious sound. Understanding the reasons why such things happen would be far far beyond the comprehension of your marsupial intelligence. Needless to say, for the average kangaroo, the prospect of solving that mysterious death-by-bang phenomenon would be an absolute impossibility. After all, one needs to understand the cause of a problem in order to come up with a solution for it. Sadly for Mrs Kanga and Baby Roo, death-by-bang is just another one of those great mysteries of nature they need to live with. You hear a loud Bang! and someone dies. That’s just the way it is.
On the other hand, when we regard the kangaroo situation from our perspective applying our superior human intelligence, the reason why kangaroos in Eden Park die every now and then following the sound of a loud bang is quite simple:
There are too many of them.
So their numbers need to be reduced.
* * *
So last Monday, the 31st of October this year, the seven billionth living human being was supposedly born. Considering we are a species who had, in the last 5,000 years, gone from believing we are the centre of creation to realising that we are but humble self-organising structures living on an infinitessimal speck in a universe with no centre, it is no longer such a stretch of imagination to think that there still lies out there — beyond the grasp of our finite intelligence — mysteries of nature that may ultimately conspire to cull our lot when we start to become an inconvenience.
Mr Walters most likely does not realise the profound meaning in what he says here…
â€œNo one likes killing kangaroos; we donâ€™t, either. But weâ€™re paid to look at it from an ecological perspective.
Indeed, Mother Nature as we know it does not even have to like or dislike what she does. She just does what she does. It’s in her nature.
What is the solution? The answer to that depends on how much we understand the problem of our immense numbers. Indeed, even the question of whether an already incomprehensibly large population that continues to grow is good or bad cannot be answered convincingly.
Human civilisation is less than 10,000 years old, and the species Homo Sapiens has roamed the planet for less than a million years. Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for tens of millions of years. Yet they simply disappeared.
Perhaps and as such: over-population is not just a problem of poor countries.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.