Nature is strong and resilient, and there are few things we can do to mess things up. But we seem to be very adept at it. Ecosystems, in the meanwhile, are very fragile things, needing a single uncontrolled factor to be completely turned upside down. After tui chubs destroyed an entire ecosystem in the ‘90s, a single tui chub to be hunted by 25,000 tiger trout.
- Tiger trout are hybrids between brook trout and brown trout, known to feed on chub
- A tui chub infestation led to the total annihilation of the entire Diamond Lake’s ecosystem
- The single tui chub specimen was found in the lake in October
- Experts hope it is alone in the lake, but they can’t be sure
- The lake’s tui chub population soared from 30 million in 1991 to 60 million in 2006
Oregon’s Diamond Lake has had trouble – and serious trouble, at that – with the tui chubs before.
At some point in the 1950s and then again in the 1990s, somebody used tui chub as live bait in the Diamond Lake, and few of the animals managed to stay alive.
From there, the fish multiplied at alarming rates, eating most of the other fish and leaving the bigger ones to starve to death.
They also caused very toxic blue – green algae to spread throughout the lake, basically dedstroying the entire ecosystem.
Tired of their failed efforts to stop the tui from spreading, and having nothing left in the ecosystem to save, Oregon authorities used a chemical known as rotenone to kill the entire tui population and reboot the ecosystem.
This was happening in 2006.
Last October, a single specimen of the tui chub was spotted, causing alarm throughout the ranks of state officials and wildlife biologists.
Finally having come to a conclusion, state authorities are going to release an army of 25,000 tiger trout, hybrids known to feed on the tui chubs, in order to take care of the single tui chub that was spotted.
Despite only one fish being spotted, it’s entirely possible that more than one escaped being used as bait and settled back into the pond.
Authorities are hoping that that’s not the case, but are operating under the assumption that it is.
It is yet unknown what effect the tiger trout will have on the ecosystem, despite being sterile by design, but I’m guessing that experts have already taken that into account.
Even if the tui trout completely destroyed the lake’s ecosystem, it’s kind of hard not to root for the underdog, isn’t it?
Image source: Wikimedia