When you think of a lion, tiger, bear, wolf, hyena, or any other carnivore – what comes to mind?
For many people, visions of snarling teeth, danger, and fear often arise. However, take a moment to ask yourself why do you feel these emotions (or any others that you do). Where do your feelings come from? Have you ever even actually seen one of these beautiful creatures in the wild? Or are you basing these emotions off of man-made themes created in movies, literature, the news, or possibly even during casual conversation? Read More
The Sky is dark at night, right? Well, yes – but just how dark should it be and how dare are we making it?
When you look up at the sky at night, you may find yourself thinking – Wow, there are/aren’t a lot of stars out tonight. The truth is – there are always a lot of stars “out” at night. However, depending on your location the problem is not that there aren’t a lot of stars out, but rather what is preventing you from being able to see them?
Not only you, but think about the many nocturnal animals and ecosystems that depend on a darkly moon-lit environment to hunt for food, hide from predators, or to search for a new habitat in (click the link for more info). For example, think of a rabbit attempting to hide from a predator in the cover of night. This rabbit is running around just outside of a well-lit city in the night time hours. What would normally be a pitch dark sky is now brightened from city lights, preventing the rabbit from finding the coverage needed to quickly escape from predators. Along comes a coyote and well… you can choose how the story ends.
Or take the coyote for example – under the same brightened night sky (that should otherwise be completely dark) it attempts to hide in order to hunt the rabbit. However, because the rabbit is able to see more clearly than it naturally should – running away from the coyote is easier than normal. Thus, the coyote must exert more energy for hunting which believe it or not – can have other impacts to the surrounding ecosystem.
While either of these situations could work in favor of/against either the rabbit or the coyote, the point is that unnaturally bright night skies are capable of having unintended consequences on our surrounding ecosystems.
Too many rabbit-stuffed coyotes means more coyotes around your house. Too few coyotes who are not as able to catch rabbits efficiently means other possible trophic cascades to the area. Take a look at this video to learn about a really interesting example of what a trophic cascades is through an example of one taking place in Yellowstone.
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