Once again, I reassert my basic position that the environmental movement has been infiltrated by radical activists who have re-positioned environmental organizations from conservation and good stewardship to generating the funding and voter support for a radical political agenda.
Against this background, we find that the environmentalists are now extending their political reach from the attempt to use the California Condor to implement backdoor gun control to their present position of demanding more and more funding to study the problems affecting a relatively few birds. Or more accurately, acting in their own self-interests to insure continuing funding for favored institutions, scientists and projects who are advancing a political agenda and setting public policy.
The New York Times is reporting …
“New Hurdle for California Condors May Be DDT From Years Ago”
“Joe Burnett, a senior wildlife biologist with the Ventana Wildlife Society and the lead biologist for the Central California condor recovery program, who had been monitoring the condor pair, was delighted with this promising development in the continuing effort to save the nation’s largest bird from extinction. When this first breeding attempt proved unsuccessful, Mr. Burnett attributed it to the young birds’ inexperience. But when he climbed the giant tree to examine the abandoned nest, he was stunned at what he uncovered: the first evidence of a potentially significant new hurdle for the condor program.”
Based on nothing more than speculation and supposition, the conclusion is inescapable: send more money or risk damaging our planet and its inhabitants.
Where have we heard this before?
“The eggshell fragments we found appeared abnormally thin,” Mr. Burnett said. “They were so thin that we had to run tests to confirm that it was a condor egg.” The fragments reminded him of the thin-shelled eggs from birds like brown pelicans and peregrine falcons, which had been devastated by DDT but are now on the rebound.”
The discovery raised a disturbing question: could DDT — the deadly pesticide that has been banned in the United States since 1972 — produce condor reproductive problems nearly four decades later?”
Some Questions …
First, I would like to question Joe Burnett about the genetic dangers of inbreeding the California Condor population using a limited number of birds and relatively few matriarchal blood lines.
Second, I would like to question Joe Burnett about the manipulation of science to support a pre-ordained conclusion; that continued funding of institutions, scientists and projects is necessary and that activists are willing to use any finding, real or imagined, to support their political agenda.
“After many years of carefully controlled feeding experiments, Dr. M. L. Scott and associates of the Department of Poultry Science at Cornell University ‘found no tremors, no mortality, no thinning of eggshells and no interference with reproduction caused by levels of DDT which were as high as those reported to be present in most of the wild birds where ‘catastrophic’ decreases in shell quality and reproduction have been claimed.’” (Reference: Scott ML, Zimmermann JR, Marinsky S, Mullenhoff PA. Effects of PCBs, DDT, and mercury compounds upon egg production, hatchability and shell quality in chickens and Japanese quail. Poultry Science. 1975; 54:350–368.)
“In fact, thinning eggshells can have many causes, including season of the year, nutrition (in particular insufficient calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and manganese), temperature rise, type of soil, and breeding conditions (e.g., sunlight and crowding).” (The Avian Egg:152–156, 266.)
“Moreover, bald eagle and falcon populations were already rebounding during the peak years of DDT use - thanks to laws limiting their hunting.” <Source>
“Another telling part of the DDT saga was unveiled during a lawsuit by scientists claiming the National Audubon Society and the New York Times defamed them as ‘paid liars’ about DDT. Depositions revealed EDF and National Audubon Society leaders plotted to ‘silence’ and discredit scientists who defended DDT. <Source>
What is the cost of concern?
“Concerns about condors and DDT have prompted the Fish and Wildlife Service to initiate a new one-year project to study how marine mammals might be carrying Montrose DDT up the California coast. The main investigator, Myra Finkelstein at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is also leading a four-year study to investigate risk factors and management strategies to ensure the condor’s long-term sustainability. This includes not only DDT but also poisoning that comes from ingesting lead-bullet fragments found in hunter-shot game. Lead poisoning was a major factor in the bird’s brush with extinction and remains the primary danger today to released condors.”
“Because of the lead poisoning problem, in 2008 California enacted legislation requiring hunters in condor country to use ammunition without lead.”
Since the Condor is a scavenger who eats trash, the source of lead could have been lead-sheathed cables, radiator antifreeze and other environmental lead. There was no conclusive finding that lead ingested from bullets was a proximate cause of death of condors. If you are interested in the subject, you may wish to read some of my previous blog entries listed in the “Reference Links” section.
The primary question …
How much disruption, deprivation and destruction should humans accept on behalf of a declining and deteriorating segment of nature whose gross effects on mankind are either minimal or not well understood? Especially when the institutions and individuals who rely on significant public funds to continue their research and their political activism are driving the discussion.
“Despite lead poisoning and the emerging DDT challenge, Mr. Burnett remains optimistic. He is hopeful that taking steps like capping the DDT-contaminated Montrose marine sediments as well as continuing research will provide solutions. He notes that in 1982 the population of California condors had been reduced to 22 birds. Although problems remain, bringing back the condor has been a conservation success story. There are now 380 California condors in the world, with about half of these titans of the sky flying free in the Western United States.”
Bottom line …
Any animal, fish or fowl that requires man’s continuing intervention to live in the wild is nothing more than an exotic pet tended by their handlers who exaggerate their importance to society.
Tens of millions of people have died or suffered mightily from pestilent disease that would have been eradicated by the use of DDT. There are those, myself included, feel that the Marxist/Communist preoccupation with population control and limits may have played a major part in the decisions to ban DDT. <Source>
The government needs to severely limit the amount of available funding for highly-speculative theories couched in scientific terms – especially when alternative theories exit. As an example of selective fact presentation of facts : consider the global warming fear mongers that claim that malaria would become a significant plague on mankind as temperatures rise. Overlooking that the largest malaria outbreak in history occurred in Siberia, Russia where extreme cold temperatures abound.
“Mosquitoes do not need tropical temperatures: they need no more than 15 degrees Celsius to breed. The largest malaria outbreak of modern times was in Siberia in the 1920s and 1930s, when 13 million were infected, 600,000 died and 30,000 died as far north as Arkhangelsk, on the Arctic Circle.” <Source>
Unfortunately, due to recent disclosures regarding the manipulation of the “peer review” process and the use of pseudo-science to drive public policy, the citizen’s skepticism and distrust of politicians is reaching crisis proportions. We have reached a time when we cannot trust corrupt politicians and scientists who are willing to manipulate the science to purse a political agenda.
How many millions shall we divert from medical care for our aging population to protect a group of birds who have become nothing more than outdoor pets tended by those whose livelihood depends on continued taxpayer money?
Reference Links …
Condor Project: Backdoor gun control and/or an attempt to secure additional funding for a failing program? (Updated)
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS