Re: NANFA-- now genetic diverstiy-Collecting ethics

Steffen Hellner (
Wed, 14 Jan 2004 13:52:40 +0100

Hi Nick,

> I would agree with you that many species have been able to overcome
> population bottlenecks, especially fish and amphibs. However is this really
> the best way of trying to preserve a species?
Only if there is no other way or it is a strong contribution to it.

> I have to believe that there
> are also examples where a bottleneck does not benefit a species. Also, just
> because you can get a herd of animals from a few founders does not ensure
> the survival of the species.
But most examples show. And especially in mammals. I think you know many of
the species in zoos and refuges having been brought up again from very small

> There are many genetic defects which can come
> out in later generations and as already described, the loss of "wild type"
> behaviors can be devestating. Again, I maintain that we should let nature
> take its course when possible.
This today is already impossible except for very far out regions in the
world (North Pole, Antarctica, Congo rainforest, parts of the Amazone).
There already is too much human impact everywhere.

> That means protecting the land. Harvesting
> the animals should be done for the purpose of finding more about the
> history of the animals for their conservation.
And for establishing backup populations. or why not?

> You are right in that the
> risk takers can take us further, however again, who should be the risk
> takers? If we leave it up to the individual, there might just be too many
> people who think they can hold the torch. This is undisciplined and
> irresponsible. Those that have demonstrated success with a surrogate
> species are obviously better qualified than just anyone saying, "jeez, that
> is a neet animal, I think I would like to try breeding it." I am sorry,
> I do not think that just anyone should be allowed to "cut their teeth on a
> species that is declining. For a species such as hellbenders, their
> requirements are generally more than the average person can accomodate,
> is why you had better be damned good before I feel that it is ethical for
> just anyone to keep them, let alone try to breed them.
Don4t get me wrong but I think I am damned good with sticky animals.

> It is possible for
> private individuals to work in conjunction with established institutions to
> further the knowledge of the species. If anything, most institutions are
> will to take volunteers.
And this is good for both. No problem having an organisation/institute being
the leader of the pack. Regulations are neccessary. What I am against is
keeping us ("the extraordinary aquarists") out of it just because we are
non-professionalists. It has come up clearly that the professional level has
highly profitted from us and still does. That4s ok but if we e.g. would
boykott them they would really come in trouble in many fields.
My idea and ideal is ateam-play on equivalent basis. In the public!

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