A headline on today’s AP wire reveals just how strong prevailing, but outmoded attitudes toward wildlife can be:
Do you think it might be ever so faintly possible there was once a time when the area now known as New Orleans was wild terrain given over to whatever animals were native to the region?? Do you think there ever might’ve been a time when humans didn’t dominate everything–including rather inane headlines such as this one.
Here is some more “horrifying” prose describing the “infestation:”
Alligators have been dragged from abandoned swimming pools. Foxes had to be removed from the airport. Coyotes are stalking rabbits and nutria (a sort of countrified rat) in city streets. And armadillos are undermining air conditioning units.
In the year since Hurricane Katrina drove out many of the people of New Orleans, wild animals have been moving in. Some were blown in by the winds or redistributed by the floodwaters. Others were drawn by the piles of rotting garbage and by the shelter afforded by all the abandoned homes and tall weeds….
Marilyn Barbera said opossums are living under her home and in her garden, and one moved into her house, a white 1859 Greek Revival in the city’s Riverbend area.
”It was about the size of a big cat and it just made itself at home,” she said.
At Charlotte Anderson’s house in the city’s Uptown section…raccoons quickly cleaned out a dozen expensive, 6-inch goldfish from her backyard pond.
In suburban Kenner, Cherry Robinson found snakes in her yard, while a man in another part of town found deadly brown widow spiders, a cousin of the black widow.
”You used to have to go deep in the woods to find brown widows,” said Jayme Necaise, an entomologist with the Audubon Nature Institute Insectarium, a museum scheduled to open next year. ”Now we’re finding them all over the place. Along with swarms of flies, roaches and mosquitoes.”
The influx of wildlife was something Rick Atkinson, curator of swamp exhibit at Audubon Zoo, predicted even before the floodwaters receded.
”The three things wild animals need is food, water and cover,” Atkinson said. ”We’ve always had food and water, but now, there are no people, so the animals have all the cover they want.”
Complaints about rats have soared.
I find it mystifying and frightening that animals that once roamed this area before we humans were ever here have returned to their natural habitat. There must be some way to fight back. Maybe we should just go on a determined campaign to exterminate them as we have so many other species.
Also ironic is the fact that the reason they’re returned to this habitat is because of the utterly stupid environmental decisions made over the years by humans, (the very first of which was founding this city in this low lying place to begin with) which allowed Katrina to wreak the havoc it did. All of which proves how miserably out of touch we are with nature and the animals with which we share this planet.