Re: NANFA-- Collecting ethics

Steffen Hellner (
Mon, 12 Jan 2004 10:17:44 +0100

> Steffen, the way that I see it, you are trying to split hairs.
That4s not my intention.

> I would not necessarily argue against your points.
> There are some hobbyists which are
> very good about the conservation of a species and are "responsible" enough
> to be able to keep certain endangered, threatened, or special concern
> species. The problem is that those exceptional hobbyists are still
> *hobbyists*; as opposed to a professional-one whose sole job is to know,
> learn, and conserve these animals.
This can be an advantage but as well the opposite. Why else are many
hobbyists so far ahead in particular knowledge? Many biologists I have
encountered are "well educated" but don4t have passion. And only passion
(and dedication) makes progress and innovation. A job can just be a job and
then a position is mis-occupied from the point of efficiency. It4s the same
for each and every profession.

> Now, let me shut the door that someone
> is just waiting to open by saying that ***being a professional does not
> you better than a hobbyist.*** It is just that it is the job of the
> professional to make the time and have the resources to deal with these
> animals in a more responsible matter.
I highly doubt this if generalized. Not every professional in nature
conservation is a Grzimek or Chico Mendez.

> This is a designation that our
> society looks at on any subject.
The old mistake to see any educated person as a professional.

> The system is far from perfect but just
> look at what we have to show for it. Ask any anyone who regularly deals
> with the vast majority of hobbyists in one fashion or another. Many
> hobbyists (the dangerous ones ;) think that they are on top of their game,
> but a truly sincere hobbyist [and professional] knows that what you learn
> simply a better understanding of how much more you really don't know.
No doubt, there are numerous black sheep within the flock of hobbyists. But
as well vice versa in scientists and wildlife managers.

> On this topic, due to numbers alone, hobbyists as a whole can not be
> to keep these types of species because they don't generally put in the time
> and effort to know their species. Again, understand that we are talking
> groups and not individuals.
Yes and no. Who else could do it? Zoos are crowded and are better on big
species (primates, crocs, monitors etc.)

> So, by saying that you or anyone else should be allowed to keep and try to
> propogate species X, you are saying that some
> people not in the profession can accept the responsibility. How are
> officials to know who those people are? Do you have to fill out a
> questionaire? an inspection of your tanks? references? etc? That creates
> more work for officials.
Cynically replied, the plus in work is worth tipping the canoe over?

> As we all agree, we need devote our resources to
> save the species' habitat and not argue about who should and shouldn't be
> allowed to keep and breed the animals. Again, it is far from perfect, but
> it is a system that does afford some protection to many different species.
Can4t see the protection by limiting hobbyists and letting the industry go
on with pollution and destruction. Try to limit the fishermen - and then
protect your ears from the loud shout in the public. We4re the easier to
shoot game.

> I agree, taking a few representatives from a population probably won't do
> much harm (exceptions of course!), but allowing some and not others to
> collect and posess these animals is a logistical nightmare. I think it is
> better shut it down, and shoot for habitat protection instead.
No doubt, habitat is most important. But first we have to examine the limits
for habitat conditions to define up to what limit it is suitable for the
species (and v.v.). This is fieldwork AND observation in captivity. But this
is only my personal particular sight. Other may and will think different
upon this.

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