A lista sueca de espécies ameaçadas inclui um ser mitológico, uma serpente-monstro. Daqui a pouco vão falar em Boitatá por aqui.
The eco-conscious Swedes take protections of rare and threatened creatures very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that in 1986, Swedish government officials even added a mythical monster to their "endangered species" list.
The specious species in question is the "Lake Storsjoen Monster," legendary resident of one of the country's largest lakes. According to the Associated Press, the monster "was first mentioned in print in 1635, when Mogens Pedersen took down a legend about two trolls who were boiling a mixture in a large kettle on the shore of the lake. Having boiled the mixture for many years, the contents of the kettle began to wail and groan and then there was a loud bang. 'A strange animal with a black serpentlike body and a catlike head jumped out of the kettle and disappeared into the lake. The monster enjoyed living in the lake, it grew incredibly big and terrorized the people living on the shores. After some time it extended all the way around the island in the middle of the lake, and could bite its own tail,' Pedersen's chronicle said."
Now some folks may find this rather thin evidence for the creature's existence. But you can find supporting documentation on the monster's own Web site, where you can even view an impressive artist's rendition of the creature. What more proof does one need?
Anyway, the Storjoen Serpent's official "endangered species" designation came to public attention in recent weeks when businessman Magnus Cedergren asked a Swedish parliamentary ombudsman to intervene on his behalf. Cedergren wants to hatch and raise baby monsters and turn them into a tourist attraction. But the environmental court in Jaemtland province cruelly denied him permission to search for the alleged monster's alleged eggs in its alleged home at the bottom of Lake Storsjoen. "The environment court turned down his application," the A. P. soberly explains, "saying local nature preservation rules stated that 'it is prohibited to kill, hurt or catch animals of the Storsjoe monster species,' or 'take away or hurt the monster's eggs, roe or den.'"
Parliamentary Ombudsman Nils-Olof Berggren has now dutifully interceded, asking the environment court to clarify why it denied Cedergren permission to search for the purported eggs of the purported beast. More courageously, he has also asked the Jaemtland county administrative board to send him documents justifying its 1986 decision to declare the Lake Storsjoen Monster an "endangered species" in the first place.
As you laugh, remember that in the U. S., hundreds of obscure weeds, bugs, and critters--whose genetic and biological distinctiveness is often just as mythical--have been granted "endangered species" protection. Note also that these fanciful designations come at a steep cost: the annual price tag simply to enforce the federal Endangered Species Act is a whopping $3 billion, billed to you, the taxpayers. Yes, we may chuckle at imaginary endangered lake serpents; but that price tag--plus the many horror stories stemming from laws that pit the well-being of people against that of "endangered species"--are no laughing matter. [Posted 5/10/04]