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I want to talk about peacock bass and our role in evolution.

"Peacock bass" is a general term used to identify a family of fish of the Cichla genus, native to very warm tropical areas in South America. Peacocks are amazingly good game fish - they can grow to be be properly massive (up to 1 meter in length) and will viciously attack pretty much anything that moves and can fit into their mouths when they're hungry. The introduction of peacock bass to South Florida in 1984 seemed like a good thing for us anglers.

The peacock was introduced to our lakes and freshwater canals to provide some competition to the growing population of Oscars and other non-native predators. Though both the "Speckled" and "butterfly" peacock bass were introduced to Florida in the late 80s, the "speckled" peacock didn't do too well and is now pretty much gone altogether. The butterfly peacock bass did a bit better and can now be caught in many lakes and canals across the region - usually.

If you live in the US, you've probably heard about the cold weather Florida has been having this year. Peacock bass simply cannot live in even slightly cold water, so they all dive down to the bottom for the winter months. They usually return to the banks by April. I haven't caught a peacock since August of last year. I'm not going to get ahead of myself and say all the Peacock have died, but it did get really cold down here in December and January.

It's hard to predict how the extinction of all peacock bass in Florida would impact the ecosystem, but I'm betting the sudden loss of a major freshwater predator wouldn't be good news. Herein lies the problem.

When the Government decides to step in and play God with the environment, things don't always work out like they're supposed to. There are simply too many variables to account for. Who knows what kind of fucked up peacock/largemouth hybrids we'll be dealing with in 10 years?

The point I'm trying to get across is that we as humans shouldn't interfere with nature any more than we need to. Life has proven itself to be incredibly resilient, and we, as humans, are a part of life on this planet. All of the life around us, the ducks, the fish, the deer, the snakes etc. WILL adapt to our presence, just as we will adapt to their presence. We're already seeing some of these adaptations in play: the seagulls in Sydney have learned that hanging around by a McDonalds is a better way of scoring a meal than going out and trying to hunt something, small rodents have figured out that they can stay safe in the comfort of our homes as long as they're sneaky about it, and many of the ducks in Florida have learned that our backyards tend to be excellent places to make a nest (most people can't bear to see the little chicks get eaten by bigger predators and will actually intervene to make sure the chicks survive - this has led to a huge increase in the duck population which subsequently led to an increase in the amount of bird shit on my car. Case in point.)

We humans are here and we aren't going anywhere. The life around us has already started to adapt to our presence, and in the future life will continue to adapt to our presence. I'm not saying we should go out and start destroying rain forests or anything, and I'm definitely not saying we should all start riding bicycles around instead of cars and live in tree houses instead of actual homes. All I'm saying is we are a part of life. If animals have to change the way they live because of the way WE live, so be it. There's nothing unnatural about that; we are the dominant species. There's no point in getting all concerned about the environment and trying to change things, because we can't predict the results. It's best to just do our thing and let the chips fall where they may. Life will endure; I bet my life on it.