Re: NANFA-- r (hellbenders plus!)

mike sandel (
Mon, 12 Jan 2004 12:18:57 -0800 (PST)

I beleive conservation is more effective when
approached as a study of populations as a whole, as
opposed to the maintenance of organisms within an

Ray's examples are more appropriate to the forum than
this, so I will not add to the list. My main point is
repeated here, so read on if interested.

Mr. Crail,

I was not at all addressing the issue of removing
individuals from a threatened population.

You are correct on the issue of what populations
remain in Ohio. However, the population I refer to is
effectively isolated, (according to the maps I have)
and the illustration remains relevant. I am by no
means claiming to be an expert on the subject, but my
perspective has been influenced by many professionals
that I have spent time with recently; Greg Lipps being
one. I have seen what the Cleveland metroparks and
related agencies are trying to do with the turtles,
and even an "amateur" can see that these resources
could be used more effectively. I agree that
conservation dollars should be taken whenever
available, but I do question the methods by which some
are spent. The Cleveland population appears to have
been isolated for quite some time and is currently
very small.(possibly even at the bottom of a very long
population bottleneck) Which brings into question
another issue, are we even saving a population, or
simply replacing it? (the turtles being introduced are
not of the same genetic stock).

The sites I personally observed being used were
surrounded by mowed lawn, power lines, roads, and
abutted a large factory. The turtles suffer losses
from a large urban raccoon population, and are
undoubtedly under other negative pressures associated
with the city.

A federally endangered butterfly would not prove a
valid arguement, since the federal government would
most likely study the whole population (assuming it is
endemic to the US). I would only argue the issue if we
were protecting a relatively small number of a large
population of butterflies. We would be spending a lot
to protect the tip of a large and healthy proverbial

But since it was mentioned previously; the input from
"amateurs" is absolutely essential to conservation and
science in general. Nonprofessional involvement is the
catalyst for public awareness (read funding) of an
issue. As expressed elsewhere in this forum, the
contributions made by amateurs and hobbyists are often
the most influential. Some "experts" go through a
remarkable transition; pride in their accomplishments
morphs into an blindingly obtuse character that shows
disregard for opinions not backed by a Ph.D. I have
been taught that the best experts never let their
learning curve "top-off", even if that demands an
education from the less-educated.

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