Saturday, December 8, 2012

The bright side of things!

It was another grueling day of the dead week. I was bang-your-head-against-the-wall frustrated and when-will-this-semester-be-over desperate. I was searching for a distraction. A little something that could take my mind off the take home exam that I was working on till then. So as per ritual, I went on Wikipedia and started browsing through random things. The cool thing about Wikipedia and YouTube is you can never stop after reading one article/one video. There is always a link to something interesting or something that promises more knowledge about the topic you have been reading at that point of time.

I do not remember how, but I came to this page on Wikipedia where they talked about the “Conservation status” of the animals in the world. I clicked through to the list of “Endangered species in North America”. Well let’s say that the number of animals on that list shocked me. There were categories of animals and each category had a pretty long list of animals which were on the brink of extinction from this planet.

Seeing such a long list of animals, I started blaming our entire human race for all the hunting, poaching and all the other horrible things that we have done over the centuries that brought the existence of these creatures to such a critical point.

I kept browsing though articles about random animals and reading the major reasons for their endangered status. My random browsing ended with an article on the California condor which was listed as a “Critically Endangered” species. Here is a little background information about these wonderful birds before I move on with my article.

Condors are “New world vultures” and are the largest North American land birds. This California condor inhabits northern Arizona and southern Utah, coastal mountains of central and southern California, and northern Baja California. Its huge 3.0 m (9.8 ft) wingspan is the largest of any North American bird, and its weight of up to 12 kg (26 lb) makes it nearly equal the Trumpeter Swan, the largest among native North American bird species. The condor is a scavenger and eats large amounts of carrion. It is one of the world's longest-living birds, with a lifespan of up to 60 years.

The first part of the article explained how the numbers of these birds came down drastically during the past 100 years. The major reasons cited for the decline in their numbers in the 20th century were poaching, lead poisoning, and habitat destruction. So my thought process went, “Here is another animal which used to live happily in its place of existence. In come the humans and destroy their homes to build their own and kill them for their own pleasure.”

But it was the second part of the article that really impressed me. At one point of time in 1987, there were only 22 surviving Condors in the wild. They were the only survivors of a mighty race of birds. It was then that the United States government started a massive 35 million dollar program called the “California condor recovery plan” to replenish the numbers of Condors. They began by capturing all the remaining surviving condors and started breeding them in captivity.

The program was so successful that by the end of May 2012, there were about 405 condors in existence. Part of them have been released into the wild since the beginning of the 1990’s and due to strict laws and designation of special protected areas for the condors their number started to grow in the wild as well. The program continues to grow with more success; they continue to release more condors into the wild.

This proved one point about ourselves that I have never realized in such significance before. While we are capable of great destruction, we are also capable of massive resurrection. While it was our mistake to kill condors in the first place, the conservation efforts deserve credit for their success. As we continue to evolve as a species I think we will learn to share our habitat better with our fellow animals. Balance to the planet will be restored and man will continue to peacefully co-exist with nature. This article blends perfectly with the title of my blog. “The wonderful place which we live in!” It is indeed wonderful.

As I continue to live in the happy place in my head, a quick look at the clock brings me back to reality and I am reminded that I have to start studying to survive a test. I don’t think there would be any resurrection opportunities for me if I don’t study!

Special thanks to all the people who work on Wikipedia to make knowledge available for free!