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Herping ethics and the endangered...


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Posted by Big J on December 02, 2002 at 15:20:01:

In Reply to: Would a Leu.TX Rat x indigo be possible?? posted by 2garters on November 27, 2002 at 19:04:26:

I am not a hybrid basher per se, and have little objection to those who partake in the practice(although I do not myself), but not in this specific case. There is one key consideration that must be thought of.

As you probably know or should know, the eastern indigo is an endangered / threatened animal. Since they are still on the decline, the possibility exists that someday the only eastern indigos left may be in captive populations. The reason for their decline: human encroachment and subterfuge of their native habitat.

Ethically speaking, we as an entire population have already done the greatest harm to this animal by developing large contiguous tracts of land, but it would further be "unethical" to dilute the gene pool of this almost mystic snake and make are past transgressions absolutely impossible to repair.

Although reintroduction programs with other animals have had very little success, there may come some point in the future where we will both have the means and knowledge to make them successful. By altering a gene pool through hybridization of this paticular animal, we may seal its fate and the result may be a genetically altered animal without the instincts and ability to survive when this opportunity becomes feasible.

Alternatively, with the "bottle neck effect" that occurs with endangered popultions, the introduction of an animal with altered genetics of somekind could theoretically spell disaster. For example, if some genetic trait although detrimental is passed on (natural selection can be forgone in cases of genetic drift (check a text if you disagree)), and the result may be an ill fate to our beloved forest guardian of the southeast.

Perhaps, I am playing devil's advocate and the above scenarios are unlikely. But out of respect for the animal and the natural state of affairs, I am against any such hybridization where the animal in question is endangered due to even the slightest possibility of the above occurring.




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