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May 20, 2024


By Bernie Pilarski

As you may recall, as the economy worsened over the past several years, the Piker Press began to offer opinions free of charge as a public service for those who found themselves unable to afford opinions of their own. It is our way of giving back to our community. Even though there appears to be a bit of light in the economic gloom indicating that we may be on the upswing, we know that opinions are still frustratingly out of reach for a significant part of the population. The following opinion is being run with the byline purposely left blank. Please feel free to print out this opinion and write your name in the byline. Carry your copy with you to your next dinner party, and when the subject comes up, you will be prepared with an opinion, and have proof that it is indeed your own.

A Question of Extinction



I was watching television last night, one of those educational type programs. This one happened to deal with the plight of the Alligator Gar, a fresh water fish, so named because it has a snout that looks very much like the snout of an alligator. It can grow up to ten feet in length and weigh well in excess of 300 pounds. Because it's so damn ugly and inconveniently big, it has a bad reputation and been disrespected by people sharing the rivers to the point that its survival is in question. The program documented the efforts of the scientific community's attempts to understand the gar and its habitat. Expeditions are being mounted to capture gar, facilities have been built to hold the gar for observation, tanks have been constructed to breed gar so that they can be returned to the wild to augment the declining populations. It is a race against time.

I am absolutely sure that the noble men and women involved in this effort are sincere and well intentioned, but I would like to know if at any time in their discussions, did they consider at all that it may just be the time for the gars' passing? The gar has been around since the time of the dinosaurs, and perhaps it's time to move on.

I am not anti-environment. Indeed, I get angry every time I hear the argument that "it's too expensive doing business in the U.S. because we have so many environmental restrictions." It is more expensive doing business responsibly. The answer is not for companies to simply move their operations to Mexico or China where they can turn the rivers poisonous and the air toxic with impunity. But wanting a reasonably clean and safe space to live is not the same question as whether a species' time has come.

In point of fact, 99.9% of all species that have ever existed on earth are now extinct (Read the article here). Life comes and life goes.

We ought to try to be good neighbors, and ought not to contribute unnecessarily to the demise of other life forms, but the reality is that the odds are stacked against us all. The Alligator Gar has had a good long run, outlasting most of its neighbors, and I'm not suggesting we kick them out the door. However, before we circle the wagons and muster our resources in defense of the gar, has anyone actually considered whether the gars' demise is just part of the great circle of life?

I, (insert name here), I'm just asking.

Article © Bernie Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-08-09
1 Reader Comments
Lydia Manx
05:45:57 PM
So someone found either Discovery or Animal Planet channel huh? River Monsters...fact or fiction?
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