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Question for Lester&Jeff

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The Horned Lizard Forum ]

Posted by Les4toads on May 08, 2003 at 14:24:15:

In Reply to: Question for Lester&Jeff posted by Cable_Hogue on May 07, 2003 at 23:07:30:

:::Chuck, do you have any idea when and why the San Diego Coast Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma coronatum blainvillei, was listed. The date of original proposal was 1946. The reason was commercial collection and the functional extinction of the species in Los Angeles County, one of 5 counties in its range. Orange County was the second of near extinction and San Diego County the third. It was community and scientific action that promoted and secured a protected status. The SDCHL also received protection under CITES II because of the commercial exploitation and illegal export of the horned lizard. All members of the Coronatum Group (all subspecies) were included in that action in 1949. The Coast Horned Lizard, including the San Diego Coast Horned Lizard, have lost 56% of its historic range. The San Diego Coast Horned Lizard, found in 5 counties in Southern California are at 39% of historic range remaining.

:::Camp Pendleton, MCAS Miramar and other military areas will probably never have loss issues because of protection of onsite assets and extremely limited access and good management. Federal and state parks also will probably not have a loss issue because it is illegal to remove wildlife from those areas. It is called wildlife management and law enforcement.

:::As for your issue about the Bill of Rights: I have so many stories to tell you about people who are so out of touch with what "rights" are that you would not even believe it. People asserting their rights is not a problem as long as it is just that - rights guarenteed by the Bill of Rights. That term has been butchered by people who devise their own definition to try to protect themselves when the are caught breaking laws. It is not you right to acquire things that are protected, even if your disagree with the laws.

:::Lester G.Milroy III

:Hi Lester,
: Isn't commercial collection in CA no longer a valid issue (short of poaching)?
:Secondly, all wild habitat is shrinking. Because the HL's do not enjoy the same range they did circa 1900 does not mean they may not have adequate range to continue their healthy existance, does it?
:And wouldn't a healthy hobby population contribute to the numbers?
:I understand from previous posts that released animal survival rate is only 10% or so. That begs the question, what is the survival rate of wild born young to adulthood?

:Hello Cable. Commercial collection should no longer be a valid issue in California, true, but you do identify the bottom line, poaching. That is still a very real problem. Coast HLs still show up in the pet trade in some of the strangest places, like New York, New Jersey, and even Japan. Where they are coming from is something that probably only "DNA printing" could pin point. There have also been two incidents, in the past two years, of P. mcalli, the Flattail HL (19 individuals) found in Florida at two pet stores.

:The loss of habitat and population isolation is starting to show in the gene pool. Because of insufficient corridoors linking "island" habitats and/or large enough protected areas as "island" habitats, inbreeding is high and variation is low -- population declines, increased exposure to viral and bacteriological pathogens and other environmental degredation. (Similar to problems with the Desert Tortoise throughout the range).

:A "healthy" hobby population would have no positive impact. The intoduction of viral and bacteriological pathogens is a key factor that negates any possible positive impact at this point. The long-term monitoring and tracking costs through the range are prohibitive. Cost benefit analysis does not yield a balance on the benefit side unless larger habitat areas are set aside and managed long term. This is where MSCPs, or Multispecies Conservation Programs, are attempting to balance habitat loss and human activity.

:Repatriation and repopulation programs are mostly failures (96%). Programs like the recovery of the California Condor is marginal at the most. The programs mainly depend on the species involved, the areas involved, and the manpower needed to follow long term. The restoration of chameleons in the wild in Madagascar is failing, even though agreements were made by the government and collectors to restore populations with captive bred chameleons to enhance the wild poplations. Restoring alligators in Florida is having major problems because of water quality issues in the Everglades. The alligator populations are just "hanging on" and not returning to historic or projected size. You may hear about alligator problems after storms but that is just a media "catch story." There have been several papers published in the journals that question the validity of repatriation or repopulation attempts and failures. The bottom line is always protecting the wildlife assets in situ.

:Wild-born young, the San Diego Coast Horned Lizard as an example, have a survivability rate of up to 14%. Low survivability rates are in drought seasons and may be near 8 - 10% to reproductive age(2 years). In non-drought seasons, survivability is near 14% to reproductive age. The factor that will yield higher survivability is habitat quality, which would include resources available to individuals, internal links to members of the community, predator-prey ratios, native vs non-native plant/insect distribution, and several other factors.

:Lester G. Milroy III

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