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經濟學人:饑餓游戲

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More than a score of Australian mammals have been exterminated by feral cats.

二十多種澳大利亞哺乳動物已經被野貓滅絕了。
These predators, which arrived with European settlers, still threaten native wildlife—
這些和歐洲殖民者一起到來的捕食者仍然威脅著當地的野生動物—
and are too abundant on the mainland to eliminate, as has been achieved on some small islands which were previously infested with them.
且數量龐大難以消滅,之前一些小島野貓滋生,現在已被滅絕。
But Alexandra Ross of the University of New South Wales thinks she has come up with a different way to deal with the problem.
但是南威爾士大學的亞歷山德拉·羅絲認為她有一種處理這個問題的不同方法。
As she writes in a paper in the Journal of Applied Ecology,
正如她發表在《Journal of Applied Ecology》上的一篇論文所寫,
she is giving feline-awareness lessons to wild animals involved in reintroduction programmes, in order to try to make them cat-savvy.
她正在給重新引進項目中的野生動物進行‘注意貓科動物’的培訓,為的是讓它們熟悉貓科動物。
Many Australian mammals, though not actually extinct, are confined to fragments of cat-free habitat.
很多澳大利亞哺乳動物,雖然并沒有滅絕,卻被限制在沒有貓的棲息地內。
That offers the possibility of taking colonists from these refuges to places where a species once existed but is no more.
這為將避難所的殖民者帶到一個物種滅絕之地提供了可能性。
This will, however, put the enforced migrants back in the sights of the cats that caused the problem in the first place.
但這將迫使這些移民者回到貓科動物的視野中,這是問題產生的根源。

饑餓游戲.jpg

Training the migrants while they are in captivity,

事實證明,利用貓的填充模型和各種貓叫聲
using stuffed models and the sorts of sounds made by cats, has proved expensive and ineffective.
訓練這些被圈養移民的方法即昂貴又無效。
Ms Ross therefore wondered whether putting them in large naturalistic enclosures with a scattering of predators
因此,羅絲女士想知道將它們和少量的捕食者放在大型自然圍欄里是否可以
might serve as a form of boot camp to prepare them for introduction into their new, cat-ridden homes.
作為新兵訓練營的一種形式,讓它們做好準備,進入它們被貓占領的新家。
She tested this idea on greater bilbies, a type of bandicoot that superficially resembles a rabbit.
她在大兔耳袋貍身上測試了這種想法,這是一種看起來像兔子的袋貍。
She and her colleagues raised a couple of hundred bilbies in a huge enclosure that also contained five feral cats.
她和她的同事在一個巨大的圍場里飼養了幾百只兔耳袋貍,里邊還有五只野貓。
As a control, she raised a nearly identical population in a similar enclosure without the cats.
作為對照,她在一個類似的圍場里飼養了幾乎相同數量的兔耳袋貍,但里邊沒有野貓。
She left the animals to get on with life for two years,
她讓這些動物獨自生活了兩年,
which, given that bilbies breed four times a year and live for around eight years, was a substantial period for them.
鑒于兔耳袋貍每年繁殖四次,壽命約為八年,這對它們來說是相當長的一段時間。
After some predation and presumably some learning she abstracted 21 bilbies from each enclosure,
在進行了一些捕食和學習后,她從每個圍場中抽取了21只兔耳袋貍,
fitted radio transmitters to them and released them into a third enclosure that had ten hungry cats in it.
給它們安裝無線電發射機,并將它們放進了第三個圍場,其中有十只饑餓的野貓。
She then monitored what happened next. The upshot was that the training worked.
然后她進行了觀察。結果,培訓起作用了。
Over the subsequent 40 days, ten of the untrained animals were eaten by cats, but only four of the trained ones.
在隨后的40天里,十只未經培訓的動物被貓吃掉了,而只有四只經過培訓的貓被吃掉。
One particular behavioural difference she noticed was that bilbies brought up in a predator-free environment
她注意到了一個特別的行為差異—在沒有捕食者環境中長大的兔耳袋貍
were much more likely to sleep alone than were those brought up around cats. And when cats are around, sleeping alone is dangerous.
與那些在貓的陪伴下長大的袋貍相比,獨自睡覺的可能性更大。當周圍有貓時,獨自入睡是很危險的。
How well bilbies that have undergone this extreme training will survive in the wild remains to be seen.
接受過這種極端訓練的兔耳袋貍能否在野外生存還有待觀察。
But Ms Ross has at least provided reason for hope.
但羅絲女士至少給了我們希望的理由。

譯文由可可原創,僅供學習交流使用,未經許可請勿轉載。

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control [kən'trəul]

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n. 克制,控制,管制,操作裝置
vt. 控制

 
abundant [ə'bʌndənt]

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adj. 豐富的,充裕的

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population [.pɔpju'leiʃən]

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n. 人口 ,(全體)居民,人數

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identical [ai'dentikəl]

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adj. 相同的,同一的

 
extreme [ik'stri:m]

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adj. 極度的,極端的
n. 極端,極限

 
superficially ['su:pə'fiʃəli]

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adv. 表面地,表面上地

 
confined [kən'faind]

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adj. 幽禁的;狹窄的;有限制的;在分娩中的 v. 限

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particular [pə'tikjulə]

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adj. 特殊的,特別的,特定的,挑剔的
n.

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score [skɔ:]

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n. 得分,刻痕,二十,樂譜
vt. 記分,刻

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environment [in'vaiərənmənt]

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n. 環境,外界

 
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