Holy smokes! Did you hear this crazy story on KQED’s “California Report” this morning? It’s nuts! Here are some details not included in the story: While people had been “stocking” lakes in Kings Canyon (pre-National Park) since the 1800s with non-native trout—the lakes there had never had fish—in the 1950s and ’60s, trout were dropped by airplane into high-altitude lakes that had never before been seen fish. These lakes—up to 12,000 feet in altitude—were the primary habitat of the mountain yellow-legged frog, which at that point was super-abundant.
The trout—which were DROPPED BY AIRPLANE, exclusively for SPORT FISHING—found the mountain yellow-legged frog tadpoles to make delicious food-meals, and gobbled them up, which rapidly decimated the population. Consequently, there are very, very few of them left, and they’ve been designated “endangered.” Of course, the frogs’ disappearance didn’t just affect the frogs; it upset the entire ecosystem in and around the lakes where they’d been living.
Now, park rangers have to get rid of the trout, with as few non-fish casualties as possible in the process (that second clause is extrapolation). Any of that sound familiar? According to the reporter in the radio story, the rangers first tried electrocuting the trout to death, but found that method to be “too expensive and time-consuming.” Emphasis MINE. Their new plan is to poison the fish with something that’s nontoxic to people, so all that revenue-generating (assumption!) sport-fishing can continue during the “controlled extermination” or however they prefer to call it (pescacide?).
Obviously the fish never should have been put into those lakes. But now that the government is finally making an effort to redress the ecosystem, what’s fair to this generation of trout, who are only doing what any trout would do? And, seriously, electrocution? Poisoning? Dropping them into lakes from airplanes? All of that is fucking disgusting. People are so gross and terrible; we can never leave well enough alone. Even “native people” screw shit up.