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Posted by blackkat on May 10, 2003 at 10:24:39:
In Reply to: Captive Phrynosoma ownership program? posted by Cable_Hogue on May 10, 2003 at 06:56:24:
: I have just gone through that last big thread to try and pull out the important bits of info and make some sense of it all. What really seems to be apparent is that:
:* All species of Phrynosoma are interesting.
:* Many are in trouble.
:* Habitat is shrinking.
:* Laws to protect them may not be working.
:* Land should be set aside.
:* There is much ignorance in the general public as to the condition of HL's.
:* People want to keep these creatures because they are interesting and exciting.
:I would like to throw out an idea for debate/consideration.
:What if a program were created by which individuals could purchase any species of HL they would care to have. These would be captive born and raised. A permit would be required to ensure that each individual understood and was prepared to properly care for the animals.
:Part of that requirement might be to return data to a central point regarding: births, longevity, etc... This could be managed by a volunteer group to reduce cost.
:By creating such a program we might: increase awareness in the public for these fragile creatures and their plight; offer the experience to those with the real desire to care for learn about these guys; help eliminate the illegal trade (poaching); reduce the pressure of illegal take on wild populations; create a better overall understanding for Phrynosoma; establish a captive population representing all species/subspecies; and possibly produce some scientific data that would benefit both captive and wild populations.
I can think of any number of complicating factors that would make this a difficult project, like acquiring your initial breeding stock with enough genetic variation for some species and then obtaining permission to export the offspring out the state or country. Also, the program would have to keep detailed records of all breedings and bloodlines, plus probably disallow any hybridization between species/subspecies, so recipients of HLs would have to be closely monitored.
However, I think it's a worthwhile endeavor. In some cases, preservation of wild populations is simply not going to happen. No matter how aggressive the effort to prevent it, continued habitat loss and species displacement is inevitable. The human population is not going to stop growing or cease economic activities that degrade habitat and introduce exotics, no matter what other species are threatened. While a captive population might not be the ideal way to protect HL's, it is an intelligent supplement to efforts to preserve wild populations, and it allows for research into how to better care for HL's in captivity, in order to make such a program as beneficial as possible to the HL's.
A non-profit organization, with corporate and/or university backing shouldn't be that difficult to get going.