Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Haley Reading Group: The Big Kill
[Best American Science and Nature Writing]
By Brittany Tuggle
Elizabeth Kolbert’s article “The Big Kill,” reprinted in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, sets its scopes on New Zealand’s ongoing problem with invasive mammals attacking native fauna which leads to native birds becoming extinct along with kiwi. Kolbert explores the issue of exterminating specific mammals for conservation of native wildlife, and how human migratory patterns throughout history have lead to certain species of mammals being brought to different parts of the world. Thus, she explains how enormous the task of eliminating invasive species truly is given the fact that humans will never stop traveling and shipping goods from country to country which leads to these invasions in the first place.
Kolbert’s discussion of humans hunting and killing invasive mammals to protect native wildlife and New Zealand’s national identity is extremely interesting. At one point, she quotes a New Zealander who explains that “‘The connection with species that are unique to New Zealand is increasingly part of our national identity. It’s what we are as New Zealanders, and I make no bones of the fact that the government is keen to encourage that. You need some things for a country to hold together’” (167). This indicates the great human tendency for identity and community within a single nation as a point of pride.
After reading Kolbert's article, what was one point concerning the irony of exterminating certain mammals to protect other species that was particularly profound to you? Please provide a page number citation.