Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 2, July, 2000 Page: 67
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Colorado County Wildlife Under Siege
by Rollin H. Baker
Nature Sets the Stage
Geologists and paleoecologists have shown that human intrusions in what is
now the Texas Gulf Coastal Region, and specifically Colorado County, began sometime
after the Ice Age. When the Pleistocene continental glaciers in northern North America had
melted back, the gentle landscape of Colorado County, with topography much as it is today,
emerged. Through time, a rather stable, diverse, and adapted flora and fauna, harmoniously
selected by a demanding environment, was derived. Biotic, physical, and climatic forces had
developed an ecologically-compatible lineup of (a) producers (plants with the ability to build
complex organic compounds using carbon dioxide, water, and solar energy in the presence
of a photosynthetic catalyst), (b) primary consumers (plant-eating herbivores), (c) second-
ary consumers (carnivores that eat herbivores or other carnivores or scavenge on both), and
(d) decomposing bacteria and fungi (microorganisms specialized in reducing complex or-
ganic materials back to simple constituents again).
The Human Intrusion
In this neat arrangement every local plant and animal played a role in "balanc-
ing" the communities, whether these organisms dwelt on land or in wetlands, in prairie or
woodlands, etc. However, once man intruded, these environmentally-regulated systems were
thrown out of whack and placed under siege by ever-increasing extractions of environmen-
tal resources and manipulations of the land. We can both quantify and qualify many of the
changes in the diversity and populations of the county's native mammals as wrought by two
distinct such human intrusions.
Invaders from the West
Asiatic-derived peoples spread via the Bering Land Bridge into North America
more than 12,000 years ago. When they arrived on the Texas Coastal Plain is unknown,
although evidence of Paleo-Indians inhabiting the area that now includes Victoria has been
dated at about 8000 years ago.
As determined by archaeological studies, the life style of first Americans who
settled in the Colorado County area was unlike that of other more-highly developed Indians.
Instead, the locals retained their more-or-less ancestral hunting-and-gathering way of life
throughout their thousands of years as residents. These people, practicing no agriculture,
confined themselves to small, motile family groups. When food resources became low in one
place, they simply moved to another. As a result, one may conclude that this human intrusion
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 2, July, 2000, periodical, July 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151409/m1/3/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.