Jay DeLong (
Thu, 4 Nov 1999 19:33:41 -0800

Luke said:
> Some of us ARE trying to save the species. Ufortunately, others who think
> "their" way is the only way belittle those of us who are actually trying
> to do something about it instead of sitting on our behinds and scolding
> other and polishing our ivory towers.

Luke, you'll never find complete agreement on anything. When you refer to
people who "belittle" you, are you talking about government regulators?
Lots of them are driven by concern, or existing regulations, or other
things, but of course there is an element of ego/personal agenda/ etc.
involved, too. You give a person a BS in Fisheries and a job as a fisheries
regulator, they don't suddenly become Mr. or Ms. altruistic-naturalist! Or
maybe you're talking about politicians-- I don't know. But egos are a part
of our psyche-- yours, mine, fish and wildlife officials. I'm sorry to hear
that you had a bad experience with someone.

What do you guys mean by captive breeding anyway? Reintroducing these fish,
maintaining a gene "reserve", what?

And Ray, you said that anyone doing this "would be trying to maintain the
fish in its natural color and size I'm sure. One only has to look to the
A.K.A. to see how dedicated a group can be to keeping strains pure as
humanly possible." Why are you so confident aquarists would do this?

> ... the key is habitat restoration.
> These species must have a place to live in the wild. I don't think we
> will ever return some to their full range, but we can re-establish SOME
> range for them.

...or save what's remaining! If there is a single thing I'd like to think
we have complete agreement on, this is it! Sadly, we don't.

But your comment that "Most can't even agree enough to come up with a
consensus as to what needs to be done" may be an admittance of the lack of
information more than anything else. We argue about "What are the species'
habitat requirements?", "What is habitat?", and "What is crucial habitat?",
and "How much human effect can an area withstand and still be viable
habitat?", "What is a species?" and more and more. There is so much to
learn about life histories and ecologies of these animals. It's arrogant
and even dangerous for people to adopt the stance that some action is better
than waiting for the government to do something.

> But what to do in the interim? Captive propagation is
> still in my honest opinion the best way to save some crittically
> endangereed in point, the California Condor...but that is
> an extreme case.

What interim? We humans drove that species to extinction. This is one
species which cannot survive where people live. It sees a truck 5 miles
away and flies away and won't lay its eggs. Color it gone...

And Shireen's post makes sense, too. Captive breeding is not the desired
answer. Y'know what worries me? That captive propagation and maintenance
will one day be used as a viable alternative to protection in the wild! I
think we need to make it clear that ANY captive breeding program MUST work
in conjunction with eventual restocking in the wild if necessary. Geez, we
really need a big picture approach, not a "Okay you do what you'll do and
I'll do what I'll do". We need a societal committment to protecting our
little planet. We are SO far away from that I wonder if all this chit chat
does a bit of good anyway. Anyone really believe that we'll curb our
population growth to the point that by the time we realize just how
important the needs of plants and animals are it won't be too late? I can
visualize a day will come that we'll all have our personal Tilapia tanks for
our protein while we live in houses stacked on houses, and watch old
episodes of Wild Kingdom and our leaders wonder why crops won't grow since
the bees went extinct.

Jay DeLong
Olympia, WA

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