In The Witness of January 6, the sad article about the poisoning of African White-Backed vulture caught my attention. In the January 5 edition, Jason Londt’s article about the possible decrease in the population of cicadas also caught my attention, especially his theory that the abundance of hadedas might be contributing to the demise.
He surprisingly goes on to ask if some thought should be given to controlling the troublesome birds.
I think hadedas are emblematic of suburban life in South Africa, and I love that their hilarious laughter wakes me up each day. Is Londt promoting the poisoning of these heralds, and will we soon be confronted in the press by harrowing photographs of hadeda carcasses on our lawns?
Dr Jason Londt replies:
Clearly some folk, especially birders, would like to take my comments a step further than I had anticipated. I have no thoughts on the possible consequences of folk actually proving that excessive numbers of hadedas do impact negatively on insect populations. This has still to be demonstrated.
Should it be demonstrated that there is a negative relationship it would then be the conservationists’ call as to what should be done. All I am saying is that a negative impact may exist and that it may be worthwhile following up in some way, in the interests of conserving things like cicadas and other ground-living insects, like crickets.