Monday, May 3, 2010

Romulus Whitaker: The real danger lurking in the water

By Jen S.

In the Ted Talk done by Romulus Whitaker about the real danger lurking in the water he states that you may think you're going to get eaten by the Gharial (type of gator) or bitten by the King Cobra when in reality the danger is the polluted waterways. The King Cobra and Gharial are India's two most iconic reptiles; both of these species of reptiles are not harmful to humans unless provoked, but neither chase after humans as a source of food. In India the real danger in the water is the pollution which is a direct connection to humans.

A King Cobra only eats snakes, meaning humans are not on the diet; they do not go looking for humans to sink their teeth into, but would rather avoid the contact. For a Gharial, its of food is fish. Researching the waterways of India for these creatures in the past five years has proved that pollution is the cause of death for these magnificent creatures. "In the winter of 2007-2008 there was this incredible die off of Gharial," Whitaker states and then goes on to say that Gout found in their bodies after dissection is the cause. Gout is a disease that affects the entire body, especially the joints; therefore the Gharial cannot swim, leaving them to die a very painful death. The gout found in these gators is caused by a toxin in their food chain, but so far the initial cause is believed to be the pollution in the waterways of India. Another cause of death for these creatures is getting caught in gill nets, which is also a cause of death for the river dolphins in these waterways. There is no end to this project yet, researching the death of the Gharial, but clean-up of these waterways is crucial.

To bring back the Gharials and King Cobras from being endangered to thriving we need to take action worldwide, not just in one place because that is not going to get the message out about dying species. The gout formed in the Gharial's body kills the gators slowly and very painfully. This should not be happening because the river in which they live in is extremely clean; so clean in fact that the people near it drink straight from the river itself because it is not contaminated like the others. The food chain has been affected, meaning the cause goes all the way to what the fish eat themselves. The real danger that is lurking in the water is the pollution and who do you think is putting it there?

The delivery skills of Romulus were very good; he held my attention and kept to the topic. As soon as the talk was over I was left to think what's going to happen next and be eager for more. He told of how he became interested in reptiles and how his career started. Therefore, I believe that our pollution has become more progressive and is showing up all over our world.

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