In the 1890s, a group of Shakespeare fanatics in New York devised a romantic plan to honor the bard: release a member of every animal species mentioned in his plays into the wilds of America. After a few false starts, a group of stocky black starlings, casually mentioned in “Henry IV,” flew into the sky above Central Park. Today, millions of their descendants are rampant nationwide—spreading disease and causing untold damage to crops.
Today, we know well how a new species can damage an ecosystem, and yet, through simple negligence and deliberate idiocy, humans continue transporting them to new environments. Hence the problem of invasive species, which costs billions of dollars to control and mitigate the harm caused to our ecology and economy. Thus, a quirky idea resurfaces every so often: can’t we just eat some of these problem animals into extinction?