Sunday, July 17, 2016

porkers and boar

This one particular boar, taken close up from the game camera at knee height shows what we've been up against. He would weigh in at over 300 lbs. and if you can imagine this character and his friends roto-tilling through your front yard, you can get a sense of what we've been up against.

We've have to give up on the gardens around our home until these destructive hogs can be brought under control. Unfortunately the only way to do that has required building and maintaining a trap where they will be lured to their death.

Feral hogs were a part of Arkansas heritage, even though hogs were an introduced species.  Called "razorbacks", early Arkansas pioneers would let them run wild and then hunt them down for meat during the fall and winter months when it was safe to process and eat their meat. They were first introduced to the state of Arkansas by the Hernando De Soto Expedition in 1540 and the diseases they carried had a tragic effect on the native American population.

They were hunted nearly to extinction, and then reintroduced by hunters in the last few years. They reproduce at such a rate that 70-80 percent must be hunted or trapped and killed each year to maintain a status quo. The damage to our gardens has been devastating in a most personal sense. Carefully laid stone borders that my wife and I built and maintained for over 30 years have been shoveled aside and thrown askew several times by these fearsome wild creatures. But perhaps what's even worse is the damage they are doing in the forest. They are destroying other wildlife, preying upon our wild turkey population and their rooting in forest soil puts all of our mushroom species at risk.

Time magazine this week has an article about the many health effects of being in nature: The healing power of nature. It notes:
When people walk through or stay overnight in forests, they often exhibit changes in the blood that are associated with protection against cancer, better immunity and lower blood pressure.

Recent students have also linked nature to symptom relief for health issues like heart disease, depression, cancer anxiety and attention disorders.
Another development in the news has to do with an altered reality game, Pokemon Go. It has been claimed to have all kinds of health benefits because it lures kids and adults to play outside.  As an example, I watched on Friday as a young man in a Walmart parking lot followed his cell phone screen across the lot completely oblivious to the real world around him. And in the news, there's the story of young men playing Pokemon Go in California. Led by their screens they fell off a cliff.

I would note for those who have missed the point,  that there is a real world that surrounds us.

Make, fix, create, and offer others the hope of learning likewise.

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