Keystone Species - from Rockford's Rock Opera Free Audiobook
For all of you who know the message behind Rockford's Rock Opera and the download ecological musical story you'll know that we place great emphasis on the importance of ALL LIFE, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
The story also highlights the fact that man tinkers with the natural balance of nature at his peril... a fact made all too obvious in the following true story:
Parachuting cats into Borneo! A Cautionary Tale.
In the early 1950's, the Dayak people of Borneo suffered a terrible malarial outbreak. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had a solution: to spray large amounts of DDT to kill the mosquitoes that carried the malaria. The mosquitoes died; the malaria declined; so far so good.
But there were unexpected side effects. Amongst the first was that the roofs of the people's houses began to fall down on their heads. It seemed that the DDT had also killed a parasitic wasp which had previously controlled thatch-eating caterpillars. Worse, the DDT-poisoned insects were eaten by geckoes, which were eaten by cats. The cats started to die, the rats flourished, and the people were threatened by outbreaks of typhus and plague.
To cope with these problems, which it had itself created, the WHO was obliged to parachute 14 000 live cats into Borneo. Operation Cat Drop, now almost forgotten at the WHO, is a graphic illustration of the interconnectedness of life, and of the fact that the root of problems often stems from their purported solutions.
(Quoted in Rachel Wynberg and Christine Jardine, Biotechnology and Biodiversity: Key Policy Issues for South Africa, 2000)
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