Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Do you remember DDT??

DichloroDiphenylTrichloroethane......   Pretty good, huh?  

Why, you may ask, am I talking about a controversial chemical from the 60s, 70s and 80's?
I was watching an owl get in a fight with 20 crows yesterday and it reminded me of the past when MAN almost knocked off some very cool animals. Hawks, Eagles, Owls, Foxes, and I am sure a host of other animals were hit hard by the impact of this killer chemical.
Farmers were looking to science for help to kill plant eating bugs back in the day.  Make the crops stronger, feed the people...   So science comes up with DDT.  It killed the bugs that were eating the vegetables, but it also caused  a Domino Effect on the rest of wildlife.  Follow this if you can?  A mouse eats a fallen tomato from a vine that has been treated with DDT.  The mouse gets eaten by an owl.  The DDT chemical impacts the Owls reproduction system, eggs are dead at placement.  Hawks?  Same path, the eat rodents and fish. So the DDT didn't kill any animal directly, it caused the eggs of the mother to be dead on arrival.  So slowly the population did not replenish itself. Not wiped out, slowly beaten out.
Today, we know the impact and we are just in time.  Now we see hawks/falcons everywhere, owls are nesting in various locations in my neighborhood.  This helps to keep a natural control on the squirrels and chipmunks.  With the flow of more rodents comes the Red Tailed Fox, and food enough for it, and it's young, to survive.    The cycle is again complete.
So when I was growing up playing in the woods as a boy, back in the 60s, I rarely saw these animals. Now today I stare everyday at something new.  I am happy we caught this DDT issue in time.  I admit I like seeing and watching nature in my suburban neighborhood. Deer everyday, Foxes running free, Owls, Hawks, and all the rest of Gods creatures.

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