Re: NANFA-- "Ugliest fish in North America"

Steffen Hellner (
Wed, 07 Jan 2004 12:30:21 +0100

> The heirarchy of needs. These cultures are preoccupied with survival and
> attaining basic creature comforts- just like Europeans and Americans in
> earlier times. Even in the developed world those living closer to the
> edge are less concerned with Nature that those who are better off.
> People who support conservation related agendas generally are wealthy or
> middle class people with disposable income and some time on their hands
> to engage in activities that bring them into contact with the natural
> world.
I agree only in part and that4s my basic critic: it is just the better off
people who don4t want to miss their SUV or S-Class Mercs, don4t seperate
their waste for recycling, don4t accept that natural ressources are off
limits if they are in an area where it could be so nice having a holiday
home etc. And hardly anybody of the so-called middle or upper class people
will take a clear position as environmental responsible because this opposes
to the ruling system. They are yellows. And aren4t it the rich Chinese who
want rhino horns and tiger penises? And rich ladies that like Zobel fur? And
who can afford a red Ara?

And for the underdeveloped countries, if they are acting pro nature at all
it is predominantly only for gaining support from the industry nations. They
like the money and only a small part of it really gets to where it was given
for. The eco-tourism you mention for South Africa is indeed a good way to
keep wildlife going there but this is accompanied by the conflict if it is
legitimate to defend e.g. the rhinoceros from wildering by shooting the
illegal hunters. Then the human right people come up and say that a human
life is higher than a rhino. But the rangers are shot frequently. The global
society to me is more than ill.

> Part of the reason bison were so fortunate was that the remaining herds
> were in private hands and the red tape that constrains the husbandry of
> protected species was non-existent in those days compared to now. It's
> not a good thing that a species be allowed to decline to that point (I'm
> sure bison lost alot of genetic diversity and distinct geographic races)
> but it's not a good thing either to snarl efforts to solve a problem
> with turf battles over who should be in control. Especially when a
> private citizen who is interested in working with something can invest
> personal wealth as opposed to dealing with the fickle nature of public
> purse strings.
I don4t comprehend the final sentence, have to get my dictionary to figure
the meaning out. It4s true that many species only survived because they were
in private hands, the bison, the white Oryx, the Spix-Parrot and many more.
many others will in the long run only have a chance to survive in zoos and
parks, e.g. tigers, leopards, lions (all the big cats), the rhinos, crocs (I
don4t want to live door to door with a croc either!). On the other hand when
a private person wants to work with endangered species there are pressure
groups like the WWF and Greenpeace (they are politically the worst of all as
they show - from a scientific perspective - behaviour and characteristics of
faschism (following Hayeks definiton) such as unitarism, narcism, xenophoby.
There are billions spent for saving pandas, and tigers but no real success
or progress rather than the opposite of that. Of course these organizations
are against private activities in conservation as these will generate more
success with way lesser assets. Why else do they only care for the
spectacular species (in general, there are occasionally and temporarily
exceptions following mainstream and actuality)? Organizations like these are
far away from where they started. They did a lot for public awareness but
then turned into mafia-like structures for self-financing. Yeah, it4s nice
flying into Congo and "working" on the forest elephants. Makes a good
publicity. But these are not all endangered. I walked through the jungle of
Gaboon/Congo boarder and had to take care not to slip out on the shit of
them as there are so many totally unharmed. Imagine the huge amounts of
money were used to care for the threatened and endangered species in North
America or Europe while conserving the big games in zoos? We would make much
better efforts then.

If one thinks that the rainforests will be preserved from cutting for wood
and ground ressources because there are rare animals this person must be
more than idealistic. If we don4t change paradigm on our economic behaviour
it will go on and on as it is. Look what petrol industry does in Angola in
"good cooperation" with the government of this state and you know
everything. For 30 or more years the industrial nations have been giving
developmental help which didn4t improve anything (this is admitted by all
responsible politicians involved), nowadays we postulate the "fair trade and
partnership" but it still is a bad joke. The 3rd World is framed, nothing
else. And they don4t mind as long as their "elites" have good profit from
it. And the WWF ahead of all that kind of organizations is part of this
play. I don4t mean the thousands of idealistic, engaged people but the board
and executives.

The federal or state wildlife administrations around the world are
overstressed with their tasks as the people working in it are predominatly
managing a system but are not enthusiasts as we are. They are educated in
the burocratic system which is their job (this is absolutely ok). There are
many scientists involved and private enthusiasts for the input on the
objectives. Again the system is the problem as it is limited in assets and
by laws and regulations which are set by the political process. And this is
steered by the industry and interest groups. And public oppinion. Give me
one example that a nations population was willing to cut down its lifestyle
level (with all consequences for jobs, salary, economic growth, nations
debts etc.) for environment and I will change my mind immediately!

Wait for how long wildlife management will work in SA. Just one economic
crisis or political riot and its over. Simbabwe is just at the boarder and
people of SA I spoke to are highly afraid of the chaos swapping over. What
happens in Kenia, and Tansania? Will Serengeti and Ngorongoro survive? I
seriously doubt that.

All this I experienced in the tropical countris made me change my attempts
to care for our natives in Germany and North America predominantly. E.g. the
type locality of my Simpsonichthys hellneri in Brazil is destroyed (at least
to a high extend) by road construction. This is an endemic species with a
narrow distribution range (only one more known locality) as most of this
genus are. And there are many more species just vanishing in the tropics
with no chance to preserve them though for many it could be done if they
were accessible.

Let me say one thing positive (from the deep of my heart I am a positive
thinker!): Private organizations and persons will continue to generate the
highest efforts for protecting natures richness. By educating people, by
tracking the diversity, by caring for habitats and species, by researching
and breeding. By removing exotics. Without much money but personal
committment and activity. If we only could/can get more people to be
interested in captive breeding or supporting it (private persons or parks,
public zoos and parks) this will be a great progress. We need a wider basis
for stocking species. This does not mean to leave the main target which is
to preserve them in the wild. But this won4t work for a high number of
species. The governments cannot care for all species and habitats.

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