If a species is widely spread and stable in its situation overall, no
debate. If a species is highly vulnerable (whoever may put the measure on
that) and rare or even more endemeic and local, any collecting should be
thought about more than twice. I like to take the Bluehead Shiner and
Hellbenders as similar in this concern. Of both we hardly know how to breed
them in captivity. At least for Hellbenders there are attempts and first
encouraging results showing that it isn4t that difficult. Only nobody had
tried it seriously up to now. I still remember the discussion about the
Bluehead some weeks ago. If nobody, or even better some more people, try to
breed it seriously, this will never be solved.
Despite of unintensional collecting and killing by fisherman, who really
collects hellbender? Their keeping and breeding needs a lot of room, time,
work, food and in the sum money as well (at least way more than a big bunch
of tiger sals ever could) that the number of interested persons is
indetectably low. Of course, keeping a single hellbender in a tank does not
make too much sense overall despite of enjoying its presence and watching
it. I doubt many people do it and if those putativly are interested and
better informed and will release the specimen afterwards.
I don4t like to counter calculate the losses caused by industry,
agriculture, and outside activities against collecting for terraristic
pupose. It doesn4t make the overall loss better but if I (officially
licenced, if) collect three pairs out of a well planted population this
would not even be half of the daily loss. And I think this is well worth it
as if only one pair will breed there will be a hundred or more hellbenders
available for re-introduction to the parents habitat. And I surely will give
the fry for that. It is absolutely impossible to even raise a hundred
hellbenders for a private person.
P.S.: What do you mean by "the hellbender stay low"? How do I have to
understand that, in population numbers or way of moving?
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