For the next month, your Bag It blogs will be coming from a New Zealand ashram on the Coromandel Peninsula, where snapper have been inexplicably washing ashore on nearby beaches.
Media sources give possible explanations – torn fishing nets, salmonella – but the incident seems similar to the instances in Sweden and Arkansas where thousands of birds fell dead from the sky last month.
According to Audubon Magazine, this phenomenon can also occur for a variety of reasons, including pesticides, collisions with man-made structures, or human disturbance.
In Arkansas, blackbirds are considered a nuisance, the mass death could have been a result of legal poisoning. (Sweden allows poisoning as well.) Pest control experts exterminate birds in several ways – by spraying water on roosts to induce hypothermia or by administering poisons.
In Telluride, where Bag It was filmed, prairie dogs are considered a nuisance. Recent discussions about poisoning led me to investigate how this colony extermination method affects the environment. Basically, poisoning to reduce a pesky population eventually leads to poisoning ourselves. The prairie dog, or bird, dies with poison in its system, and is eaten by another animal, which is possibly eaten by another animal, which we then eat. Or the poison leaches into the water system, which we then drink.
Either way, much of the poison is eventually absorbed back into our own systems. Which, as they might say in this New Zealand ashram, seems karmic.