September 18, 2008

Teepee Lights kill birds

Casinos to watch the skies for disoriented birdsThe Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Association is watching the skies for birds, but is going ahead with plans for Teepee Lights at each of their gambling facilities.

Pat Cook, vice-president of corporate affairs at SIGA, said that casino staff at Yorkton are working with Environment Ministry conservation officers to keep track of how the spotlights are affecting birds.

Last week, CBC News reported that Yorkton residents had found “hundreds” of dead birds around the spotlights.

An Environment spokeswoman said the working theory was that migrating birds were getting confused and disoriented by the bright lights, flying around until they tire out. They are then forced to the ground, sometimes getting killed in the process.
But don't think these Indians are totally insensitive, stupid, and sellouts to the white man's ways:SIGA is also limiting the use of the spotlights to four hours a night until the migratory season is over.

“It’s something to generate excitement and interest in our casinos,” Cook said, explaining the use of the lights as a marketing tool. “The purpose is to provide a bit of a wow factor for people when they come up to our entertainment.”
A few commenters offer the obvious replies:Nature lover from Sask writes: What a waste of energy in a time when we are all asked to be more environmentally friendly. I thought first nations have a deep respect for mother earth and all her children. Sacrificing more birds is not a good example.

Jerrie from Sask writes: These lights are really tacky. The only wow factor here is Wow, what a waste of money. Why are there enforceable noise bylaws but no light bylaws? These lights make PA look like a fourth-rate Las Vegas. It seems that the Casinos have abandoned any sense of corporate social responsibility.
Comment:  Maybe SIGA could set up piles of dead birds outside their casinos. The piles could be shaped like teepees. I think that would create a huge "wow factor."

If it isn't obvious, I'd say light pollution for the sake of advertising is a classic example of greed and selfishness. Even if it isn't killing birds, I'd say it should be banned.

For more on the subject, see Ecological Indian Talk and The Facts About Indian Gaming.

Below:  An example of Teepee Lights.

1 comment:

Ken Armbruster said...

Four weeks ago, we were sitting outside with company from Victoria BC. We all noticed sparkles within the lighting system from the Casino. We were all amazed about how they created such a lighting system. We drove to the casino to have a look, on the way guessing, moths or bats attracted to the lights. When we got there and had a look with binoculars we could see it was birds, hundreds if not thousands. The next morning when I saw the carnage lying around on the streets and sidewalks I felt anger, outrage and wandered how anyone could destroy so many migratory birds in one evening. This went on every night until the migration or all the birds died. I contacted the night manager one night to tell him that birds were caught in the lights and a half hour later the lights remained off for the night. The next evening I called the Casino to thank them for turning the lights off, but the manager I originally talked to was not in. Talking to another person and thanking them for turning the lights off the night before did not do any good. The lights have been turned back on and remain on every evening.

It is now goose and duck migration, the snows would congregate over our city lights and be cackling all night. Since the lights are on they are staying clear of the lights. I wander how it is going to affect future migration. What the hell is this world coming to. I am sure the light pollution
will effect the migration system of many birds.