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John Karger [00:00:00] The view, when I was growing up, is that they were all, everything, you know, it's that same old view of today: "the only good snake is a dead snake".

John Karger [00:00:09] It's a lack of understanding. It's ignorance.

John Karger [00:00:11] And with birds of prey it was, there's only one species of bird of prey - "that damn chicken hawk", you know, steals my chickens...

John Karger [00:00:19] What I was taught by all these people, over and over, was that they don't wake up in the morning angry. They don't wake up vicious. They wake up hungry.

John Karger [00:00:27] And they wake up with a task that we as humans living on this earth have really gotten far away from. No, I should not be that broad. I should say, in my country, we have gotten very far away from.

John Karger [00:00:38] They wake up to do their job of nature's checks and balances.

John Karger [00:00:43] They were taught that you catch this, which protects the environment, keeps it healthy...

John Karger [00:00:48] They were wonderfully built, whether you believe in God or science, however you believe, they were built to endure what they were going to eat, which wasn't well.

John Karger [00:00:58] But they didn't get those diseases.

John Karger [00:01:00] There's a reason for that. Their body temperature can be 110 degrees, and maybe go up higher when they get anxious and working hard.

John Karger [00:01:11] So, the attitude towards them at that time was, "they're just vermin, varmints, and you just kill them off".

John Karger [00:01:18] So, with that, biologists ... started seeing a decline of populations, especially with DDT, a chemical that was put out to kill off insects off of plants and uptick the amount of food we could produce in this country.

John Karger [00:01:35] Did a great job.

John Karger [00:01:37] But, we found out, late fifties and sixties, that it wasn't going away...

John Karger [00:01:43] Late sixties, I was involved with these people and so I went into nests ..., looking to band birds, or looking to acquire falconry birds. And there were birds that were dying, and eggs that were unhatched and undeveloped.

John Karger [00:01:55] And so, as people began to research this, they found this DDT and DDE, and it became the bellwether, saying, "Hey, this is the coal miner's bird."

John Karger [00:02:07] And birds of prey ... started to become important because they're, of course, apex predators, top of the food chain, right there with you and I. What happens to them is going to happen to us.

John Karger [00:02:16] They're smaller, so it gives us a chance to save our children, if we figure out what the heck is going on with it.

John Karger [00:02:21] So peregrines, bald eagles, golden eagles ... there are some people who have a "shoot, shovel and shut up" attitude. You know, these things are taking my animals. And that is a vicious circle. They're taking my animals, and so I'm going to protect my land and protect my livestock so they'll get rid of them. And I think they have a right to protect what they're trying to take care of.

John Karger [00:02:41] However, I'm not going to teach my grandchildren to kill everything just because it is...

John Karger [00:02:46] So they put those species underneath of that protection and umbrella. And there was some very high fines for killing them. They protected them. They protected the nest. Protected their territories. And so that law helped slow down by eliminating DDT out of the system.

John Karger [00:03:05] And thus some of the really harsh chemicals that were out there: we humans learned that, "Gosh, it's affecting us, too".

John Karger [00:03:14] And it's not until it affects us or our children, that we're going to stop.