How nature avenged China for sparrows
In the distant 1958, the Chinese leader Mao Zedong signed a historic decree on the destruction of all rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows in the country.
The initiator of the launch of the large-scale campaign was, oddly enough, the biologist Zhou Jian, then deputy minister of education of the country. He was convinced that the mass destruction of sparrows and rats would lead to an unprecedented flourishing of agriculture. The pier, the Chinese can not overcome hunger because they are "eaten up on the fields by voracious sparrows". Zhou Jian persuaded the members of the party that at one time Frederick the Great had allegedly carried out such a campaign, and its results were very inspiring. Mao Zedong especially did not have to convince. His childhood he spent in the village and knew firsthand about the age-old confrontation between peasants and pests. The decree was signed by him happily, and soon throughout the country the Chinese with slogans "Long live the great Mao" rushed to destroy the small representatives of the fauna designated in the decree of their leader.
With flies, mosquitoes and rats somehow did not work out right away. Rats, adapted to survive in any conditions until the nuclear winter, did not want to be completely exterminated. Flies and mosquitoes did not seem to notice the war they had declared. Sparrows became scapegoats.
At first, the birds were tried to poison and trap them. But such methods proved to be ineffective. Then the sparrows decided to "take chills". Having seen birds, any Chinese tried to frighten them, forcing them to stay in the air as long as possible. Old men, schoolchildren, children, men, women waved rags from morning till night, pounded into pots, yelled, whistled, forcing the mad birds to flit from one Chinese to another.
The method proved to be effective. Sparrows simply could not stay in the air longer than 15 minutes. Emaciated, they fell to the ground, after which they were finished and stored in huge piles. It is clear that not only sparrows hit, but all small birds in principle. To inspire the already full enthusiasm of the Chinese, the press regularly published photos of mountains with many meters of bird corpses. It was a common practice to take the pupils of schools from school, give them slingshots and send off any small birds, destroy their nests. Particularly distinguished students were given certificates.
Only in the first three days of the campaign in Beijing and Shanghai nearly one million birds were killed. And in almost a year, such active activities lost two billion sparrows and other small birds. The Chinese rejoiced, celebrated the victory. About the rats, flies and mosquitoes by the time already no one remembered. They waved their hand, since it is extremely difficult to deal with them. It was much more fun to destroy sparrows.
There were no special opponents of this campaign among scientists or among environmentalists. It is understandable: protest and objections, even the most timid ones, would be perceived as anti-Party.
By the end of 1958 there were practically no birds in China. TV announcers told of this as an incredible achievement of the country. The Chinese choked with pride. No one even doubted the correctness of the actions of the party and its own.
Life and death without sparrows
In 1959, in the "wingless" China, an unprecedented crop was born. Even the skeptics, if any, were forced to admit that anti-burglary measures had yielded positive results. Of course, all noticed that all sorts of caterpillars, locusts, aphids and other pests were significantly added, but given the volume of the harvest, it all seemed insignificant costs. To estimate these costs in full measure the Chinese could after another year.
In 1960, agricultural pests proliferated to such an extent that it was difficult for them to discern and understand what kind of crops they were devouring at the moment. The Chinese were at a loss. Now entire schools and production were again removed from work and study - already in order to collect caterpillars. But all these measures were absolutely useless. Not numerically not naturally regulated (as small birds used to do earlier), insects multiplied horribly. They quickly devoured the whole crop and set about destroying the forests. Locusts and caterpillars feasted, and in the country hunger began. From the TV screens of the Chinese people tried to "feed stories" that all these are temporary difficulties and soon everything will be fine. But you will not be full of promises. The famine was serious-people were dying in large numbers. They ate leather things, the same locust, and some even fed their fellow citizens. The country began to panic.