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Posted by R.F. Hoyer on February 24, 2001 at 01:21:57:
In Reply to: REPTILE PET TRADE AND CONSERVATION posted by UNIVERSITY RESEARCH on February 14, 2001 at 16:44:52:
: WE NEED SOME OPINIONS ON A RESEARCH SUBJECT...IF YOU HAVE TIME PLEASE POST A RESPONSE AND/OR E MAIL A COMMENT.
: MANY REPTILE KEEPERS THINK THEY ARE CONSERVATIONISTS. IN THE MAJORITY OF CASES, MOST SPECIES WHEN FIRST OBTAINED IN THE WILD HAD TO BE COLLECTED (AND DIED OFF) IN LARGE NUMBERS BEFORE SUCCESSFULLY KEPT IN CAPTIVITY (THIS IS WELL DOCUMENTED). WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS?
: MANY SPECIES HAVE BEEN SHOWN TO BE DWINDELLING IN NUMBERS IN LARGE PART DO TO THE CAPTURE OF THESE ANIMALS FOR THE PET TRADE (WILD CAUGHT PURCHASE FROM IMPORTERS). HOW CAN ONE JUSTIFY DOING THIS TO THE REPTILES THEY CLAIM TO LOVE?
: ALSO, SINCE THE MAJORITY OF KEEPERS ARE NOT PARTICIPATING IN BREED AND RELEASE PROGRAMS, HOW CAN ONE STILL BE CALLED A CONSERVATIONIST IN THIS RESPECT?
: PLEASE TRY TO BE CRITICAL OR YOURSELF AND OTHERS WHILE ANSWERING
: NO DISRESPECT IS MEANT.
: IT NEEDS TO BE STRESSED THAT NEITHER SIDE OF THE ISSUE IS MEANT TO BE FAVORED, OPINIONS ARE NEEDED EITHER WAY.
: THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME!
The statements and questions you pose partially entail the subject of ethics and simultaneously involves principles of wildlife managment and population ecology.
Let me pose some questions. What are your views on specimens collected for zoos, for vouchered (preserved) specimens at museums and educational institutions? What are your views on the removal (harvesting) of game fish, mammals and bird or the commercial harvesting of a variety of plants and animals from the wild? How is the above different from the collecting of specimens by (herp)entusiasts? There are real difference to be sure but in the broader view, how do these activties affect the populations in question? Finally, ask yourself how collecting per se is different from other forms of predation by other higher order predators and what influence does such predation have on prey populations?
This is a very involved topic so I will stop short of giving any of my views thereof except to mention that the I believe there is considerable documentaion that alteration of habitat or its outright loss has been documented to be the primary cause of population declines or extinctions in both plants and animals. RF Hoyer