Re: NANFA-- dwarf sturgeon / captive breeding / refuguia

Doug Dame (
Fri, 20 Dec 2002 13:57:31 -0500

Martin (aka Mr. "they're all gonna die") wrote:

>> So the question I have is this - What is the point of maintaining
>> in captive refugia a species which is extinct in the wild, and
>> cannot realistically be reintroduced into its native habitat?

Thanks, Martin, that thought helped me suddenly frame an underlying question
that has (perhaps) been lurking around this discussion ... namely ...

Q: Are we (people in general) willing to take a perfectly good more or less
intact environment, with its own naturally evolved biodiverse community, and
DELIBERATELY re-allocate and transform that space/environment for an extended
amount of time into an artificial (but outdoor) REFUGIA for one or more
species that for whatever reason are deemed to be on an extinction track in
their indigenous environment ? Sacrifice the "integrity of local environments"
for the sake of maintaining global bio-diversity as well as we can, in other
words ?

Do we believe that in many / some / no cases could we realistically expect to
keep the species confined within the boundaries of the refugia ? What are the
environmental risks if there is "leakage" ? Compared to the wide-spread
problem of introduced non-indigenous species where there is no "public policy"
benefit afore-thought (is that a word?) , even if there is some leakage,
would that really materially contribute to the non-indigenous species problems
we already have ? Do we understand the environmental systems well enough to be
able to make a decent risk/benefit decision in the first place? Maybe we'd
feel better about "dwarf sturgeon spreading like kudzu in Kansas" than we
would about "Nutria rampaging through Chesapeake Bay" simply because the
nutria are in no way endangered in the place they came from, and would deem
the "worse case outcome" or escape/leakage to not be so bad after all. Or
maybe we think that if a natural ecosystem somewhere has deteriorated to the
point that it's not viable in situ .. well, that's unfortunate but once it
gets to that point the costs and/or risks of trying to do anything about it
are just too large. (Or in a medical triage kind of sense, perhaps a belief
that we're better off focusing our attention on the middle set of species that
can be saved without such extreme measures.)

Of course, substitute "a secret conclave" for "we/people in general" and
"velociraptor" for "dwarf sturgeon/nutria," and you have one of the main
underlying themes of the book/movie Jurassic Park !!!

No particular opinion on this, just a somewhat different way of looking at the


Doug Dame
Interlachen FL
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