According to some environmentalists, the future of the spotted owl is in great danger. “It’s a nasty situation,” said Susan Haig, a wildlife ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Corvallis, Oregon. It seems that spotted owls are mating with barred owls, producing fertile hybrids. Politics enters the picture because timbering in the Northwest was severely curtailed in 1994 to save the spotted owl, an endangered species. Local lumbermen resented becoming an endangered species as a result.
Besides this, the plan has failed. Spotted owl populations have not increased and now they are fooling around with barred owls. Environmentalists are in a bit of a bind here. Should they kill barred owls? That doesn’t seem very environmentally correct. According to Susan Haig, “The spotted and sparred owls are hard to tell apart, and hybrids are not protected under the Endangered Species Act.” This could cause the extinction of the Northern spotted owl,” she said.
I say if spotted owls want to mess around with barred owls, who are we to interfere in their sex lives? Will they actually “disappear” or just assimilate into another owl tribe that they find attractive? Isn’t this what evolution is all about, adapting to your environment? Scientists only recently found out that Neanderthals were not wiped out by superior species of humans, but made love, not war and assimilated into the gene pool. If you want to see a Neanderthal, go look in the mirror.
This is another example of human arrogance. Somehow we think we can control everything, that we actually do control everything-like the weather. We can no more control the weather than we can arrange dates for spotted owls. In fact, about the only thing we can control is ourselves, and considering our everlasting wars, we’re not doing a very good job of that.
Johnathan H. Adler, Failing to save the Spotted Owl, July 29, 2011
Sharon Guynup, Interbreeding Threatens Rare Species, Experts Say, National Geographic, December 26, 2002