Not In My Backyard


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It must have sounded like a good idea at the time: rats were destroying sugar cane crops in the Caribbean Islands and in 1872 someone decided to introduce a foreign predator, the small Indian Mongoose, to kill the pests. Problem was, mongooses (not “mongeese,” according to my Oxford English Dictionary) do most of their hunting during the day and the rats were most active in the sugar cane fields at night. Instead of staying up late to take care of the rats, the mongooses found it easier to kill chickens and snakes instead. (The latter, ironically, were already doing their part to keep the rats in check.) Today mongooses cause millions of dollars of damage in the Caribbean and are a major source for rabies and leptospirosis.

The point of all this is that sometimes the solution, no matter how well-intended, turns out to be worse than the problem

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