These are but a few examples of just how devastating thoughtless acts by humans can turn out to be, and how big that mountain is that we must climb, if we are to save the world for future generations.
You may not recall that 2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity, but in October that year, Irish animal rights activists let loose five thousand mink from a breeding farm, in the name of conservation, little thinking how catastrophic this might be for local wildlife.
The problem is that the Irish authorities still condone fur farming, and the sad fact is that the released mink will utterly ravage the ecology of the Irish countryside, possibly all but wiping out prey species, which have no defense against them. Ireland is not the only European nation to host such farming, but the problem is that they breed American mink for the fur.
Escaped specimens are lethal, slowly killing off the European mink, as well as other creatures. There are 6,000 fur farms in the European Union, foxes being farmed as well, because the fur trade globally is thriving, but the ecological impact of the escaped predators is devastating, yet nobody seems to care.
It was only in 1984 that some Museum Weed, from Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum, got accidentally released into the Mediterranean sea, covering an seabed area of one square meter at that time. It was left alone, instead of being dealt with, and today covers a 13,000 hectare area, way out of control.
Nagoya, in Japan, was the location for a convention on biological diversity recently, where even more awful tales of destructive species invasion came to light. Gough Island in the South Atlantic, most important seabird colony on earth, is now being ravaged by the unlikeliest predator of them all.
The common house mouse, probably escapees over a century ago from whaling boats, quickly evolved to three times normal size, becoming predatory flesh-eaters because other food was scarce on the island. Birds are defenceless against them, the mice invading nests and eating fledglings alive, even those 300 times as big as the mice are, like Albatross chicks.
China, the USA and Thailand are all currently finding themselves under threat, ecologically from the Walking Catfish.These resourceful creatures, having usually escaped from ornamental ponds or fish farms, can actually cross dry land at night, seeking waters containing any prey fish. When it finds them, the destruction is total, as these fish eat everything they find, and can burrow into the mud, waiting without food for months, before exploding back into action.
If that nasty fish were not bad enough, threatening to wipe out local fish species, the cane toad, widely introduced in the tropics to control crop pests is a land-bound equal to it. Omnivorous and apparently all but indestructible, this savage beast is poisonous to anything trying to prey on it, is unique in being able to breed in salt water, and is every bit as destructive to other species as that terrible catfish.
Equally hard on animal life around them are the Yellow Crazy Ants of Christmas Island, eating alive any creature crossing their paths, as well as destroying rainforest, by farming the scale insects that feed on tree-sap. Whatever species humanity introduces to an alien environment will create havoc.
One twentieth of global economic spending is on combatting the harm we ourselves have brought. Like the introduction to the tropics, years ago, of Imperata Speargrass, which now prevents an area the size of the USA from being used to grow food. These are but a few examples of just how devastating thoughtless acts by humans can turn out to be, and how big that mountain is that we must climb, if we are to save the world for future generations.