Happy Thanksgiving! While our custom on the fourth Thursday of November is traditionally to trot out some thrilling turkey facts, this may be an auspicious time to ponder the remarkable fortune of Meleagris gallopavo, the Wild Turkey.
You might wonder why I would describe the bird being barbecued, baked, roasted, pan fried, and deep fried by millions of Americans possibly AT THIS VERY MOMENT as lucky. However, the turkey had it much tougher around the turn of the 20th century when the world’s wild turkey population was an estimated 30,000 birds. Our friends at Cool Green Science, the conservation blog of The Nature Conservancy puts the turkey’s trials in perspective:
Rampant poaching and habitat destruction offered little hope for the wild turkey’s future.
But today, 7 million turkeys trot, cluck and scratch around North America, occupying almost all suitable habitat and even expanding beyond their original range.
How conservationists (and turkeys) pulled this off should offer some lessons—and hope—for those of us facing conservation challenges today.
Whether you’re tucking into a typical turkey feast or a meal more considerate of our great American gobbler, take some time to read Matt Miller’s All Hail the Unendangered Wild Turkey: A Thanksgiving Reflection to see how conservation may offer hope for today’s threatened animals.
We are everywhere!
That is a remarkable achievment! I will have to check that book out. On a related note, check out ‘Spix’s Macaw: The Race to Save the World’s Rarest Bird’ for a look at how just a few egos can ruin any chance for conservation of today’s endangered animals.
Hi Sebastian – I reviewed Tony Juniper’s excellent book at http://10000birds.com/spixs-macaw-the-race-to-save-the-worlds-rarest-bird.htm – I wrote at the time that “This book deserves to be read. In my opinion it should be required reading in schools everywhere. It is educational without being preachy, it’s a warning, a modern-day parable for all that is wrong with how we view Nature. At the same time it is superbly written. You won’t be uplifted by the end of it – but if you’re not still thinking about this book weeks after finishing it I will be amazed” and my thinking hasn’t changed a jot.