I’m an animal lover, so like many hate seeing the photos of poor little birds covered in oil, or dead, on Bay of Plenty beaches. And I loved the footage on TV of the surviving birds being cared for in a pool.
But having said that, it is useful to put the numbers in perspective.
- Birds killed by the Rena – 1,000
- Birds killed annually (in NZ) by predators (possums, stoats etc) – 25,000,000
- Birds killed daily by predators – 68,500
- Birds killed annually by hunters – 1,000,000
- Birds killed daily by hunters during hunting season – 11,000
- Chickens killed for NZers food annually – 77,000,000
- Birds killed by power lines annually – 1,700,000
- Birds killed by automobiles – 800,000
- Birds killed by wind turbines – 500
I think the Rena is an environmental disaster – definitely. But is it the worst environmental disaster of all time as some media have trumpeted? Not so sure about that.