"Man, the Hero" is sitting on his pedestal. How big is his task to reign over the earth, yet he looks quite smug and loves to be admired! As consumers we are so totally responsible for the balance in our world. Of course we may use certain things, but how much can we safely claim for ourselves? As consumers and travellers we need the oil that is transported in huge amounts over the oceans. How can it be done more safely without spoiling our beautiful planet? We all know how a great spill can effect our birds!
We have little control over the harvesting of hundreds of thousands of seabird eggs yearly in societies where it is the main source of protein for humans. Closer to home, cats, with the blessing of their vets, insist on their favourite brands of tinned food, while at the fish factories fleets of boats are going out to trawl the oceans for the tons of fish needed to be processed as pet food for the supermarket shelves, leaving less for our seabirds!
For tourists and photographers, visiting the gannets is a breathtaking experience, yet care must be taken while large stone buildings are erected for people to watch birds from. Busy, noisy and dusty human activities can be stressful for the birds indeed. Tourism provides the funds needed for caring and monitoring the birds, so we hope that the pros outweigh the cons when we build these bird hides! The habits of the birds can be carefully monitored from here, but sometimes selected birds will have to carry a ring with data inscribed in it. Scientists have noticed that the ringing of a gannet can put the pair off breeding for a whole season!
My big-headed little man on his pedestal! I hope he can keep the balance! (The cartoon was done in great haste and from the imagination as I had to leave the West Coast for my solo exhibition in Pretoria.) I would love to hear your thoughts on this sensitive topic.