Re: NANFA-- now genetic diverstiy-Collecting ethics

Steffen Hellner (
Wed, 14 Jan 2004 15:10:23 +0100

> And now we come full round. Who should be allowed to have these backup
> populations, if the species is in serious decline and there is little
> success in reproduction? This is where I maintain that it needs to be
> closely regulated. Yes, how it got there in the first place is the big
> issue, however what to do with the issue now is the immediate problem.
This is nothing more or less but a question of personal view on it. You have
your view which is neither right nor wrong. So I see my view. It depends on
preferences which is in many cases a good bases for a common sense not

>> as hellbenders, their
>> <)> > requirements are generally more than the average
>> <)> person can accomodate,
>> <)> that
>> <)> > 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.
> You may be good with these animals, how do you come to that conclusion?
> you bread similiar species as hellbenders? Have you kept them for even
> close to their life expectancy? What is you success rate with surrogate
> species? How do we even know how to judge. I am cautious about individuals
> who are boastful. Nothing personal. You may be the best, then you may
> you are the best. (This is just rhetorical, not personal. No offense
> meant.)
I understand your position and don4t take anything personal. Of course it is
questionable how to show performance in this case. Just to mention I don4t
take me for THE best but I am cool enough to say I am in the top group. I
know breeders having more species than me actually and raising more
offspring (for sale). I don4t do that, I rather give some hundreds of fry
away for free or feed the surplus to other fishes. In amphibia I have 30
years of experience with native newts and salamanders. The climate is very
similar as in the central of the USA. Unfortunately we don4t have any
surrogate species for hellbenders (if so I would still want them, I think).
Before the rstrictions came into action here I always put my salamanders
back into nature and took new ones again. I raised many of them and brought
up wounded specimen with good success even if they had no more legs and
tails at all (at least most of them, not all). I think one of my advantages
is to be able to observe habitat and excerpt the key conditions for a
species. Same in the tank. I observe and come to conclusions. Sometimes
trial and error as well. I call this "feeling" for the critters and know
this from ohter breeders to have it. Maybe it4s just like the "green thumb"
for plants. But this alone is not suitable for a screening of perspective
candidates for endangered species. There has to be some definite knowledge
and understanding of biology in general and the proposed species in

But all of this can be avoided if it is commonly agreed upon the fact that
hobbyist collectors don4t put a threat on endangered species. Now we are
back to where we started.

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