But the Fish & Wildlife Service has gone out on a limb to keep this
snake out of private hands. I was told by the reptile keeper from the
Philadelphia zoo that the Feds allow them to keep males of that
subspecies - obviously out of fear that offspring from this prolific
live bearing snake (no references handy at this time but from personal
observation I know garters often have huge litters!) would trickle into
the private sector and become prevelant in the trade.
I'm sure it's the same for endangered topminnows, pupfishes, Watercress
& Rush Darters- creatures even more prolific than reptiles- again I'm
too lazy to look it up but fish typically produce oodles of eggs.
I've argued too in favor of rebuilding habitats for endangered fishes
and other small critters that lack the ability to get around as well a
birds and mammals do. And I've often gotten this lecture about how wrong
it is to tamper with nature or even a hostile tongue lashing from the
"Let Them Go Extinct With Dignity" crowd. I agree with Steffen that the
resident critters and plants don't care if a wetland was naturally
formed or deliberately impounded and they got there on their own or were
artificially introduced. Only humans care and that's a matter of
individual asthetic preference of group consensus.
Between these and countless other incidents that fly similarly in the
face of common sense- I've come to the conclusion that conserving the
protected status of a species is more important than the species itself.
Now you know why us terrible old carmudgeons are so cynical.
"I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other
animal, and that she has no eye-lids. She may therefore be esteemed an
emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged,
ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true
courage. As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with
her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in
the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her,
she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons
are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and
contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal.
Conscious of this, she never wounds 'till she has generously given
notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of
treading on her".
Benjamin Franklin : The Rattle Snake as the Symbol of America
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