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This article was published on October 27, 2021

SpaceX’s success is built on the bones of tiny birds

To save our species, Elon Musk must destroy others

SpaceX’s success is built on the bones of tiny birds
Thomas Macaulay
Story by

Thomas Macaulay

Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC. Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC.

There’s a bird killer on the loose, a vicious murderer with an insatiable bloodlust for endangered species. His name is Elon Musk.

The Tesla tycoon hasn’t been doing the dirty work himself, but Musk’s SpaceX is reportedly decimating birds around the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

The surrounding land hosts an array of endangered animals, including sea turtles, ocelots, and hundreds of bird species, including the federally threatened Piper Rover.

Campaigners warn that SpaceX’s operations are destroying their habitats. According to an analysis by Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, the region’s Piping Plover population has shrunk by 54% in the three years since the arrival of SpaceX. 

“Boca Chica is incredibly important to birds,” said EJ Williams, the American Bird Conservancy’s (ABC) VP for the Southeast Region, in a statement.

“The SpaceX facility in Boca Chica is surrounded by federal and state public lands used by hundreds of thousands of individual birds of many different species throughout the year.”

Activists have raised concerns about the harm caused by rocket explosions, sonic booms, debris dropping from the sky, and increased traffic in the area. They also worry about the environmental impact of SpaceX’s plans to drill for gas in the area.

Residents have also accused SpaceX of ruining the neighborhood. Musk, however, has previously appeared dismissive of the effects on their lives.

“We’ve got a lot of land with nobody around, so if it blows up, it’s cool,” he reportedly said in 2018.

Musk may strive to save humanity by colonizing space, but it’s a shame he has to destroy some species on Earth in the process. Flying on SpaceX rockets won’t feel quite as fun if they’ve been built on tiny bird skeletons.

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