Re: NANFA--genetics again and predators- Collecting ethics

Steffen Hellner (
Wed, 14 Jan 2004 14:55:00 +0100

>> <)> 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
>> <)> natural.
> I don't see how you can say that genetic loss can be overestimated. Yes,
> thes animals can be line bred and be healthy for generations, but what
> the adaptive advantages that these animals need to survive in the wild? By
> captive breeding for wild release, we are essentially playing God. We are
> only selecting for things that we think are important, not what may be
> important for survival in the wild. We can not know all the selective
> pressures that go on in an ecosystem.
The problem for many (most?) amphibs is that they are not capable of
adaptations as they have already come to a speciation close to the end. They
on a natural basis have lost potentzial to adapt. That4s why so many species
disappear so fast. Mostly without obvious reason. You can4t shoot a dead.
The playing of god can be restricted to an unavoidable minimum (which I
doubt is higher than in the wild) by not selecting meaning offereing proper
conditions (free courting and mating, large places to live in, natural
feeding (let them hunt!) a.s.o. This is not comparable to a regular setup
for mere hobbyist purpose or propagation. It has to be attempted very
seriously (same for the professionals).

>> <)> 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.
> Yes, they remove genetic diversity from the system, however that is what we
> call natural selection. It has a purpose and contributes to the evolution
> of the species.
But this development is what many conservationists try to avoide. It is not
seeling the present status but enabling a future however it may come.
Several endemic species are either highly uniform or have changed phenotypes
within relatively short time. They are drifting apart caused by inbreeding
and separation. That is evolution and we can4t stop it. Why should we? The
big crash causing the dinos to die off (if it was that way) cannot be made
unhappened. Or do meteors belong to natural selection? Todays catastrophy is
mankind and we cannot make us not being there. Thus WE are the major
influencing factor in evolution. Don4t know if we are better or worse 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
> And finally, you are creating more work and bogging down an already taxed
> system.
Could help to solve underemployment. LOL. Seriously, we have less
formalities and obstacles since we agreed on a narrow system of announcing
protected species. This was changed quickly as soon as it was realized that
it doesn4t make sense and that the true challengers are different types.
Wearing nice dresses, driving nice cars, behaving nicely but truely being
only lead by money and power. Poor guys though but still very, very
dangerous to all of us. Most of these "managers" I had or have to work with
have everything but a character or principles, or confessions. They are just
there making more money regardless of what the consequences will be. Why not
make them a bit more buisy, ey? Probably keeps them off from killing the
world. (Just a rather cynical approach to polarize).

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