Ecological disasters don't have to be chemical like DDT or Mercury. They don't have to be icky and in your face like zebra mussels or hydrilla.
Sometimes they are cute and downright charming.
Therein lies the problem.
Here's an example that really drives me nuts ... and it's not just because I am not a cat lover. I may teasingly give cats a hard time on this blog, but it's in good fun and I know your pet cats bring you cat lovers much joy and comfort.
This is not about cats at all really, it's about stupid humans.
In a local community near here, Otter Creek, a group of ignorant well meaning folks recently trapped, neutered, and released back into the same community, about 30 feral cats.
Once they trapped them, it should have been over. Give 'em a shot at adoption at the pound, but then euthanize them if no one wants to adopt a hissing, fire-spitting feral cat.
But whatever you do, do not release them back into the community to feed on our NATIVE birds and other small wild creatures.
Plus, their very presence will encourage the dumping of other cats who WILL be able to reproduce.
This scene looks pretty idyllic. Subtropical foliage surrounding a clear stream ... a mallard cruising by ...
Cute and charming as she is, she's an ecological nightmare down here in Florida. She's not part of some wild flock migrating through. She's feral ...
... and she is a genetic time bomb.
Florida does host some migrating flocks of mallards, but not many compared to other southern states to our north.
We do have an endemic mallard cousin called the Mottled Duck which is being hybridized out of existence by mating with released feral mallards.
Again, we have met the enemy and he are us. All across the state, good hearted, but ignorant folks are releasing mallards into local water bodies. I would imagine that a few months after Easter is an especially heavy release time, since so many impulse duckling purchases occur near this holiday.
Controlling feral species gets complicated when your target has a cuteness or beauty factor. It's not too difficult to get the public behind you on exterminating feral Burmese Pythons, Walking Catfish, or Cane Toads.
But just you try exterminating feral cats, ducks, or parrots ... that is another story.
Cuteness ... it's a curse.