Have you ever watched a movie titled “The Gods Must Be Crazy”? In that movie, you will find a scene where a certain rhino would try its best to put out fire, including the star’s campfire and it resulted in funny comedic scene.
But such kind of thing can only be found in comedic movies, because in real life rhinos would instead choose to run from fire than putting it out. And the only rhino that would put fire out like that one in the movie is Officer McHorn, the policeman from Zootopia.
However, the ability to at least control the spread of wildfire ignited in the forest is not only owned by Fire Lord Ozai. Some animals have the ability to do that, and the way they do it is different from one animal to another.
And to know more about those animals and their abilities to deal with fire, here in this article we will talk about it.
Birds And Their Wildfire Prevention Methods
Birds are among the animals which get affected by wildfire significantly. If you hear about wildfire, the firsts and most of the victims in reality would be birds living in the area, even though such kind of news is too seldom being aired.
The ‘best’ thing that can happen to birds when wildfire happens is escaping it by migrating somewhere else. While the worst thing that can happen is getting burned alive and this kind of thing usually happens to younger birds.
According to Audubon, the danger of wildfire to birds is not only from the flame, but also from the smoke inhalation and exhaustion in running away from it. However, even though birds seem weak versus wildfire, there are some species of birds that can do something to prevent it to happen.
Malleefowl bird from Australia is one of the birds that can do something to prevent the spread of wildfire. It does it by heaping leaves in the forest floor to lay its eggs down. This heap will later become compost that can generate warmth for the eggs.
The heaping process is not only useful for those things, but also a way to cut fire spread by creating fire gap. This way, when wildfire happens, the gaps can even halt the spread of fire and prevent something big like 2020’s Australian wildfire.
Beaver’s Dam Preventing Wildfire
Don’t get the idea wrong here. Beaver has one of the most effective methods to prevent wildfire in the nature. This is no other because of its ability to construct a dam which can hold a lot of amounts of water, and make the whole area damp.
Thus, not only able to save its life alone, it can also save the life of other animals in the forest. “The number of species that depend on these beaver habitats is virtually limitless,” said Ben Goldfarb, in his newest book Eager.
“Classic beaver behavior, which every third grader can identify, is building dams. By doing this, they create ponds and wetlands that turn out to be important for many reasons. The first is biodiversity habitat, providing places to live for fish and wildlife,” Goldfarm continued.
And to make it even more exceptional, beaver dam can function as climate change mitigator too! A study conducted by researchers from University of California in Davis found out that beaver dams, both natural and artificial, are effective meadow restoration tools.
Furthermore, the restoration will also result in less greenhouse gasses production. “Beaver dams increase carbon storage by trapping sediment high in carbon and raising the water table, which expands the growth of riparian and aquatic vegetation,” as stated in the article.
Bison The Extinct Fighter
Bison is now extinct in Europe, but we can still find plenty of them in America. Because of that, conservationists are now trying to reintroduce the animal in Andalucía, where the animal can eat scrub as much as they want.
Wait, what’s the significancy of that information? Regarding the topic of animals that can at least prevent wildfire to happen, bison is one of the most effective animals for that task. What makes it funny is, they don’t think of it as work, but a recreation instead.
The way bison can control wildfire is by eating, and that’s why they will like it. Wild bison like to eat tree barks and underbrush which are highly flammable and can help wildfire easily spread to the whole area where they live.
“The European bison delivers immediate biodiversity. It opens up dense parts of the forest which lets in the light and allows grass to grow instead of scrub, which lowers fire risk and, in turn, benefits numerous species through food and freedom of movement,” said Fernando Morán, a veterinarian who is director of the European Bison Conservation Center of Spain.
Bugs Can Be Two-Sided Sword
“One of the things I really started to appreciate in this review was insects and other invertebrates. There are means by which they could have an important effect [on fire],” said Claire Foster, a terrestrial ecologist at Australian National University.
Bugs break down leaf litter into smaller pieces that allows microbes to decompose it faster. This way, there will be no fuel for wildfire to even start. However, Bugs can also boost wildfire, and the way they do it is pretty sophisticated. For example, let’s look at how lace bugs do it.
When the bugs eat bur oak leaves, it changes the chemical composition of the leaves and gives it high lignin content. Leaves with high lignin content decompose 25% slower, resulting in higher build up on the ground and would create perfect fuel for wildfire.
All of those animals above can not only help mitigate wildfire, but also many other things. The problem is, we tend to ignore their natural presence and overlook their conservation status, like what happened to European bison.
We should have learned that every single creature living in our nature is actually a nature attendance. That’s why, we should protect every single of them without become ignorant about it.