Thursday, April 09, 2015

A to Z Blogging Challenge - Hyacinth and Hippos

We shall now move on to the bane of Florida waterways all over the state (s). The lovely, yet “deadly” water hyacinth. This plant is not native to the USA, much less Florida. The plants were brought in, much to our dismay, as “gifts” from the Japanese in 1884 during the World’s Fair in New Orleans and soon took over, clogging rivers, killing fish and putting a halt to shipping in Louisiana for awhile. By this time, according to Wikipedia, there were over 50 Kilos per square meter choking Florida’s waterways.
Over one hundred years ago...

As seen today, still a major problem

Hyacinths moving fast

In 1910 the “New Foods Society” put forth the “American Hippo Bill, H.R. 23621." The plan was “to import and release hippopotamus from Africa into the rivers and bayous of Louisiana. The hippos would eat the water hyacinth and also produce meat to solve another problem at the time, the American meat crisis.” The bill fell short by ONE vote! Don't believe me? Look it up...
Behind glass in an aquarium, yes.

No, no, no.

Now, it seems, perhaps a real use for water hyacinth may be in the works. Biomass. I say, let’s make hyacinths work for us for a change!

The flower is beautiful...

Not my idea of fun!

I wonder what the ‘gaters and manatees would have done if the bill had passed and they’d had to live with hippos stomping up their territory. 
I'm not putting a canoe in that water.

Don’t want to imagine having to look out for hippos when canoeing down the Suwannee River or any other river for that matter. Love bugs and hyacinths as invasive species are one thing, but hippos? No way!

Now if they all looked this cute and stayed this small...!
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  1. Releasing non-native flora and fauna into what is effectively an alien environment, generally with no natural controls, rarely if ever goes well.

  2. Hippos are so cute, fat and happy...

  3. Isn't it amazing what crazy ideas politicians can come up with?

  4. I love hippos... they are cute, yet huge... like the one from Disney's Fantasia... dancing.

    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

  5. What a wonderful post and a double H to boot! One of the wackier ideas like introducing cane toads to Australia. The message is NEVER mess with nature.

  6. I've often thought a grilled hippoburger would make a nice addition to a Florida menu. Too bad the bill failed. NOT
    ~Visiting from AtoZ

  7. Hippos are really dangerous animals, more so than alligators. They probably would've caused more problems.
    I wonder why the manatees don't eat the plants?

  8. Hippos are considered one of the most dangerous animals in Africa and they wanted to release them in Florida - really?
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

  9. What a mess! Invasive species are everywhere, too. I think of the Asian carp in the Illinois River and the nutria rats in the South.

  10. I live in Florida and did not know that about Hyacinth. Is that hippo really sitting on someone?

    That last one, the baby hippo, is adorable!

  11. There are lots of wild hippos in Columbia thanks to Pablo Escobar bringing them in. Hippos. In South America.

  12. That might have caused a big problem. Then I can see a law enacting hippo hunting season.

  13. I was wondering how in the name of all that is sunny and bright were you going to close the loop on Hyacinths and Hippos... and then my jaw dropped... ONE vote shy... wow!!

    Politicians do the strangest of things sometimes :)

  14. Hi Lisa - Hippos are extremely dangerous ... And water hyacinth is dreadful for the waterways - how interesting to learn that hippos were kept out by one vote ... They usually defecate by spreading it with their tail in a watery slobby mess!! Happy food day today? Cheer Hilary

  15. Every time we "introduce" something to take care of a problem, we cause more problems. I am glad the idea of using the hyacinths for something useful is in the works.

  16. Anonymous12:31 PM

    Interesting story. It seems everything's connected in our world. The Japanese and their floral gifts. Some good and some not so good. See this story

  17. Anonymous1:07 PM

    The fragrance of hyacinth is so lovely, I had no idea it was such an invasive plant. I want a hippopotamus for Christmas...they're just too cute, and I always think it's interesting when we find innovative ways to solve problems using plants and animals.

  18. Wouldn't it be something if it turns out oil was actually made from long ago hyacinths.
    Take 25 to Hollister

  19. That baby hippo is simply adorable!

  20. Hippos would not have been a good idea. As it is you now have huge python making their homes in the Florida swamps and they certainly were not native. As someone mentioned, introducing a species into a different environment has proved to be a bad idea time and time again. I hope the alternate use for the water hyacinth works out well.

  21. Anonymous8:42 PM

    Wonderful article Lisa. Just learned something new, had no idea. Thank you for expanding my world.

  22. Wow I never dreamed there was a time when people wanted to introduce hippos to Florida. I can't imagine! I've also read the same thing Alex mentioned, that they are actually very dangerous animals. I always think of them as just fat and happy but clearly appearances are deceiving.

  23. Non-native species? Wild. Hippos? Crazy. It's like the stink bugs that invaded Pennsylvania a few years ago. There is supposedly no known predator except I've witnessed a wild turkey take down all of them in his reach. But that doesn't stop us from hunting wild turkeys. Go figure.


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