Saturday, 1 September 2012

Wildlife habitat protection - from one extreme to the other

Boa Constrictor at the Perth Fair
We went to the Perth Fair. Busy day Friday afternoon, with kids running around screaming!

But off to the side, in a dark tent, were Little Ray's Reptiles.
My gr. 7/8 science teacher had a pet Boa Constrictor. I was the first to hold her in the class as visitors came to the classroom, which led to a love of reptiles! This Boa caught our attention.

At 175 lbs, this young man is the only staff
who can hold Boa!
Do you know about HIPPO?
A great acronym for identifying what it is that changes animal populations around the world:

Habitat loss
Invasive species - especially humans, but also imported species in an ecosystem
Pollution - including Climate Change
Population growth

A body as thick as a man's leg

Beautiful markings


HIPPO's components, essentially, are what impacts population. The article 'Squatter's Rights' (below) was intriguing to me. It outlined the way in which biologists and conservationists have taken HIPPO to the extreme, by protecting species not natural to our region, or in such numbers.
 Unfortunately, some of our Ontario environmental laws are bizarre, in that they protect birds form farmers harvests, yet these birds are invasive species to the ecosystem.

For example, Bobolink: This beautiful bird with a musical song lives in tall grass, and moved into Ontario as settlers cleared forests and established farms. It nests on the ground in hayfields where farm machines often run over its nest.

But in the countries to where the Bobolink migrate, people eat them and farmers shoot them. Many of the countries are destroying habitat in the migration destinations where live in winter.
Then the writer speaks of Barn swallows, Bank Swallows, Eastern Meadowlarks, and others.

Barn Swallows:
Snake draws a colourful crowd!
These birds nest in roofs of barns and under bridges. Their numbers are dropping; Ontario estimates that 350,000 live here today. They are native to Ontario, but were not as common when they clung to sides of cliffs. 

Bank Swallows:
A relative of the barn swallow, these birds nest naturally in holes in riverbanks. Human created a new home for them: Sand and gravel pits, where the edges of pits stand like enormous riverbanks. Environment Canada wants the companies that dig the pits and provide the birds’ homes to protect the birds from further digging.

Eastern Meadowlarks:
This is another songbird in hayfields and pasture. It’s subject to the same dangers as bobolinks; both nest on the ground, and farm machinery can kill them. 
Both now have the same protection, under the same three-year moratorium. The savannah sparrow, vesper sparrow and upland sandpiper all live on agricultural land, and could soon be declared species at risk in Ontario.

OTTAWA — Across Ontario, laws are beginning to protect an odd group of wildlife from development — species that only live here because humans developed the landscape in the first place.Most moved in, or vastly expanded their range, after European settlers transformed the dense natural forest into 

Swarm of endangered eels discovered at Fleet Street pumping station on Ottawa River

OTTAWA — It took a couple of hours for 15 men and women to catch one eel Thursday outside the Fleet Street pumping station, trying to help one of Canada’s most mysterious fish species.
CC #230!


DeniseinVA said...

I have really enjoyed this article and those amazing photos. Very, very interesting. Thank you!

Misty DawnS said...

What a very interesting post! I guess I'm in the minority, because I think snakes are gorgeous creatures.

Mama Zen said...

Beautiful shots!

Pat said...

The snake is beautiful.

Linda said...

I think it is best when man just stays out of the way altogether...let the native ones live, don't bring in anything that doesn't belong there, and show some common sense in the whole thing. Is that asking too much?

chubskulit said...

I'm scared of snakes. Hopping by from Camera Critters.

Red said...

I think that not only habitat loss but fragmentation causes most of the difficulty for species to survive.
Research has been done on the seismic cuts here. Some birds use the cuts to move further. Other birds won't cross the cut so are cut off from other birds of their own species.

Powell River Books said...

When I was a principal, we had a reptile man come to the school once a year with critters big and small. They kids always loved his show. - Margy

Christine said...

The sad thing is humans are creating loss of habitat for so many species! How do we get rid of humans though?