Monday, July 4, 2011
Another installment of Animals vs Infrastructure
I'm not a conspiracy theorist. But I'm disturbed by the new ways animals are coming up with to interfere with the technological underpinnings of human society. Climbing animals like raccoons causing power failures is nothing new, but in mid-June in Montana, an eagle caused an electrical outage by dropping a dead fawn on a power line. And other animals are going right to the source, like the jellyfish that caused a nuclear power plant to be shut down in Scotland by clogging up the pipes drawing water into the facility.
Similarly, it's well known that birds can be a danger to airplanes by getting sucked into engines and striking aircraft. Since they basically share the same habitat, this isn't surprising. But you probably had no idea that if you've got a flight at Kennedy airport in New York right about now, you might be delayed because of turtles.
Last week it happened again as it does every year, when diamondback terrapins migrate to their breeding grounds, and don't care that the direct route goes right over a runway.The airport had no choice but to close the runway. "Running over turtles is not healthy for them nor is it good for our tires," said one spokesperson.
Rather than fighting this yearly incursion, airport officials seems resigned to their fate. Workers from the Port Authority and the U.S. Department of Agriculture gathered up the turtles and gave them free transportation to their destination in order to speed the migration along. And everyone seems to have a light-hearted attitude about the situation. JetBlue, one of the affected carriers, said in a statement, "We hope for faster animals next time."
Very funny. But if turtles can interfere with airplanes, is anything safe?