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Good news for pigs

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This year is turning out to be an annus horribilis for my swine friends.
Not only have they been accused of being responsible for pandemic 'flu, but during the recent Queensland state electioneering circus a newspaper headline proclaimed that;
"Feral pigs are destroying the Reef."
Previously in The Bucket we have discussed various odd associations like cows with guns, and chickens in choppers, so why not now scuba diving suicide piglets with coral destroying bombs strapped to their little bellies.

The article was however referring to the incumbent government's inept management of feral pigs rooting around in mainland national parks, the catchment areas from which runoff ends up in the Coral Sea.  Dirty fresh water is apparently detrimental to coral growth on the Great Barrier Reef.

Over my lifetime I have witnessed numerous prophets of doom proclaiming the imminent demise of our coral reefs.
Depending upon which attention-seeking post graduate nerd was positioning him/herself in front of a microphone or television camera at the time, various causes were espoused.

Crown of thorns starfish, excess sediment from rivers, too much fresh water, acid rain, nutrient and effluent from cities, farm chemical and fertiliser residues, acid sulphate soils, and coral bleaching from increased sea water temperature.   It's a wonder there is any reef left at all. 
Several of these variables have been impacting upon the reef in natural cycles for thousands of years.  Nature responds, and accommodates change. 
To a degree… is the extent of that degree which humans still do not fully understand. 
The following contribution may very well not add to that understanding.

 I live at the business end of the feral pigs habitat and see the damage they do to the rainforest floor in the mountains, which doubtless results in some increased sediment runoff, some of which may end up on the coastal flood plain.  Finer particles might just reach the sea where river outflows are then mostly driven parallel to the coast by ocean currents. 
Given that the barrier reef is, on average, between 50 and 100 kilometers offshore over its 1200 mile length, I wish to postulate my own theory on "how much damage feral pigs do to the Great Barrier Reef".
Firstly I would like to introduce to you a very old Australian bushmans unit of measurement which has sadly gone out of vogue with the advent of political correctness. 
I wish to resurrect it.
It is called a "poofteenth".
It has a value somewhere between zero and three eighths of bugger-all.

The damage that feral pigs cause to the Great Barrier Reef is coincidentally and precisely one single poofteenth.

So, aspiring young environmentalists of the world, go to it, prove me wrong.

I am a conservationist at heart, and, as a student of the natural world have an awareness of the constant need to monitor our environment and act appropriately in response.

It is my contention that far too much "research" is conducted primarily for the purpose of enhancing personal curricula vitae, rather than being a genuine effort for discovery of the real truth.

We would be better served when making practical decisions, to rely upon wiser heads with a broader intellectual and historical understanding of the evolution of our planet.

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

10 responses »

  1. Wow! those feral pigs sure get around! They are a big problem here in my area because they demolish wheat fields in just a matter of hours. Such a problem that it's legal to hunt them anytime, anywhere (with landowner's permission of course).Funny about the influenza thing … "authorities" quit referring to it as swine flu and started using its technical name – H1N1 Influenza virus – because folks world-wide were slaughtering herds of pigs for fear of getting sick. Repercussions of this, of course, would be adding to the world-wide famine. (I did wonder, however why the hell anyone in Islamic countries were raising pigs to begin with …).The capper, of course, is that last night on the news there were reports of a bunch of pigs in Alberta, Canada who had actually caught the Swine flu!

  2. It is called a "poofteenth". It has a value somewhere between zero and three eighths of bugger-all.Ha ha ha – now that is funny!

  3. Funny, but true. 😉

  4. Love the Canadian pigs catching the flu….beautiful retribution.Also a very good point about the pigs in Islamic countries.The only real reason for me owning a shotgun (apart from being an occasional aid in deterring Globets unsuitable boyfriends) is to control feral pigs. We used to grow root crops like taro and sweet potato, and, as you say, they can demolish an entire crop in a very short period of time. There is a tradition in some families nearby to own and train pig hunting dogs….its quite an education to see them at work. Although they are technically no longer permitted in the national parks, they still ocassionally come and reduce the feral pig polulation.

  5. Damn.I thought that headline came from Feral pigs scuba diving on the reef to hand feed (perhaps trotter feed would be a better phrase) the Crown of Thorns star fish.Never mind shooting crocs, I think the pigs are a bigger problem but I guess the crocs are more photogenic and you only get to wrestle a pig in politics.

  6. I think you might have stumbled on a new tourist attraction!

  7. Awesome. Harks back to the Jeremy Clarkson in a Holden Monaro (It's not a vauxhall, dammit, it's a Holden!) when he turned on his traction control. "Ah c'mon you poof. Turn it off!"
    This just adds fuel to the fire that whilst global warming is a very real phenomena* we have yet to see superheated summers and sub-arctic winters though I am assured they are just around the corner.
    Personally I prefer to save energy wherever possible, hence spending most of my time on the sofa playing on the PS3** but I am still completely astounded that the government, rather than investing gazillions*** in nuclear power isn't instead investing in solar panels for the nations' roofs. Nor is it investing in correctly switched personal sized wind turbines. Call me a knobhead**** but would that not be the better, greener option with less waste and no disposal issues?
    I've visited the Great Barrier Reef and it is without doubt one of the World's greatest wonders. One of many which exist in Australia and surrounding waters. I've also been to Ulluru and what a glorious treat for the eyes that is. I was amazed listening to recollections of the Aboriginal legends surrounding it.
    GOF, as per your comment on Vicola's blog, my application will be with you just as soon as your post service delivers it. I am presuming addressing it to GOF, Australia will be enough?

  8. btw:
    * i.e. complete horse crap
    ** a bad pun regarding conserving personal energy rather than my personal water, gas and electricity usage
    *** roughly £shitloads.
    **** please don't, it will upset me. It was merely a rhetorical statement.

  9. Thanks for visiting…..I'll reply as a priority tomorrow morning….I just ran out of solar power because of really crappy weather we are having at the moment.

  10. When I grow up I would like to be like Jeremy Clarkson. 😉 But then he never grew up either.The whole global warming matter, whilst there is some debate over its reality, I am certain we should err on the side of caution and do whatever we can to halt it just in case. What is happening to glaciers worldwide is just scary.As my short message yesterday indicated, we are not connected to the electricity grid, and survive mostly with half a dozen little solar panels, and bottles of gas. There is no excuse for Australia not being a world leader in solar energy given the hours of sunlight most of the country (excluding my little patch of the tropics) receives.I note and understand your "asterisk code"….you will certainly never attract 4 asterisks from me……anyone who chooses to read the rubbish on this blog deserves to be in a special category…..speaking of which I will expedite your Visa application……just "GOF….planet Earth" should find me. 😉 Or not.


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