Re: NANFA-- Collecting ethics

Steffen Hellner (
Mon, 12 Jan 2004 18:14:19 +0100

> Steffen, we can go toe to toe on this as you have effectively done, but the
> fact remains that we need to deal with reality. In the grand scheme of
> things, hobbyists don't have the knowledge or the knowhow to deal with
> species that we are talking with. Again, some do, but we need to look at
> things as a whole and deal with it in that fashion. No, not all biologists
> have the passion, but I believe that it is much more than you are giving
> credit for. By going into biology as a discipline, you know that you are
> not going to be making loads of money. You do it for the passion and the
> interest.
Or for the safe employment status (over here), or because it is not that
stressing a sassembly lines or big companies. When young I thought it is as
you say but when I started studying biology I found most professors, and
students having serious deficits in passion and motivation. That4s one
reason why I quit it. The "biology business" as I encountered it was not
where I like to be part of. Individuals excepted, of course.

> Again, certain hobbyists may be great at it, but how do you weed
> out those that really are good from those that *think* they really are
That4s one of the major problems, I agree. But applications won4t be that
much I think. Looking at the papers for some states I found they have nice
hurdles built in to keep spontaneous applicants off to a certain degree. I
support restrictions in permit as far as one should state the purpose of his
intensions collecting a species.

> You make the comment that you "Can4t see the protection by limiting
> hobbyists and letting the industry go on with pollution and destruction."
> You are taking it personally and I believe that you are not looking at the
> best interest of the species as a whole. Removing any specimens reduces
> genetic diversity in the system that animals are in.
That is exactly what predators do to them. What to do? Declining their
permit? What makes the difference is that predators usually only take what
they need.

Genetic loss: I am convinced that this is overestimated by far as amphibia
and fish are generally highly stable to inbreeding and even transbreeding
(the green-frogs e.g. and the cleptones). These animals can be bred healthy
even in-line for many generations. genetic isolation and inbreeding (lack of
gene exchange) are found in mostly every salamander and newts. Scientist can
even tell local populations from each other. And they like it when
"natiralist" transfer specimen to different locations to "save" them. They
may crass the entire population by that. So from my point the taking of a
little of the so highly precious genetic diversity doesn4t matter at all.
Otherwise most of the amphibians would already be extinct. To them its

> By allowing only a
> certain number of animals out by issuing permits is a way to reduce that
> genetic loss by taking an educated stance- you only allow a small number of
> animals out to those who have the best chance to learn the most for the
> species as a whole. The rest of the equation should be protecting the
> habitat and all of the *other* stressors in it. I respect your opinion,
> I think that you are not looking at things in reality. We are talking
> numbers here, plain and simple.
Yes, I am talking of numbers, rather small numbers. Keep just some of these
idiotic fishermen and offroad driver off and there would be hundreds of e.g.
hellbenders saced for science and hobbyists. I am absolutely convinced to
not only look at this from my personal interest but at reality. Your
argumentation is like cutting some leafes from the tree rather than going to
the roots. We all have to decide on an at least national scale to either go
for unlimited industrial development and consumption of resources (material,
ground, water, air) or to change paradigm to a substantial limitation of
what is called "growth". This in fact would take much of each and all of us.
This will not come, world will go on as it is. And there will always be a
group available to blame for the situation and to show "we are doinmg
something". Yes, but inconsequently and often at the wrong end of the

> For arguments sake, if we were to allow hobbyists to have these species,
> should there be a screening process? What would the requirements be? I'd
> be interested in hearing anyones comments on this specifically.
Why not? As in all parts of life - if I want something I have to do
something. The requirements could be agreed upon interdisciplinary. We do
this in Germany not only for endangered species. There are regulations for
maintaining species, for showing qualification in care and transport. Not
perfect still but its improving and more and more people take part. This is
accepted within scientists, hobbyist, politicians, and the bureaucracy. But
we are still far away from perfection. At first many hobbyists were afraid
of being over-regulated, other interest groups the other way around. Todays
situation is fine for all parties and for the aim of protecting all species,
endangered or not.

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