Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

Conservation denies tigers a future as a species

June 13, 2017

There are, it is thought, around 4,000 tigers still living in the “wild”. There may be as many as 8 – 9,000 in captivity (3,000 in China and perhaps 5,000 in the US). The tigers in captivity are in zoos and parks and are, in the US, often bred for “hunting”. Very few (< 100 perhaps) of those in captivity are returned to the “wild” every year. Breeding hybrid tigons and ligers once used to be very popular in zoos but less so now though it is still prevalent for entertainment purposes. The numbers are not very significant.

Tigers are magnificent animals and a cultural icon for humans. No doubt the sabre-toothed tiger was an even more magnificent creature. It is surely a matter of regret that they became extinct a long time ago. As a species they were replaced by others which were more suited to the changing world. If present-day tigers (considered endangered) were to become extinct, it would also be a matter of much regret. But I find the rationale for “conservation” efforts flawed and illogical. The WWF (which is close to being one of my least favourite organisations) writes in a typical woolly-headed, gushing style:

Yet they are more than just a magnificent animal – they are also crucial for the ecosystems in which they live. As top predators of the food chain, tigers keep populations of prey species in check, which in turn maintains the balance between herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed. Balanced ecosystems are not only important for wildlife, but for people too – both locally, nationally and globally. People rely on forests, whether it is directly for their livelihoods or indirectly for food and products used in our daily lives. ……… Tigers not only protect the forest by maintaining ecological integrity, but also by bringing the highest levels of protection and investment to an area. Tigers are an “umbrella species” – meaning their conservation also conserves many other species in the same area. They are long-ranging and require vast amounts of habitat to survive; an adult male’s home range varies from 150 km2 – 1000 km2.

Tigers are endangered because their habitats are disappearing. That habitat loss is fundamentally irreversible. As a species they already have no significant role to play in the ecosystem prevailing. They have already become a redundant species biologically even if the concept of majestic tigers roaming wild forests still has a massive emotional impact on the selfish human psyche. Creating new tiger reserves – constrained in area by various means –  is little more than creating glorified zoos. They are just parks where the cages are a little bigger.  The tigers themselves are “frozen” into their current, unsuccessful, unsuitable, failed genetic state. They are doomed to continue unchanged and unchanging in a shrinking and ever more unsuitable habitat. There are no natural selection pressures (or artificial selection measures) in play which would make their descendants more capable of surviving in the new habitats due to changes that have already happened and have yet to come. This “conservation” is not about helping the tiger to survive by evolving but is only about freezing them into an increasingly untenable form. It is backwards looking and all about preserving failure.

I am even more convinced that traditional “conservation” is misguided and is done just to satisfy the emotional needs of humans, and not, in any way, forward-looking to help endangered species to adapt and survive into the future.

Fighting against species extinction is to deny evolution   – (ktwop – 2013)

So what then is the objection to – say – tigers becoming extinct which is not just an emotional reaction to the disappearance of a magnificent but anachronistic creature?  The bio-diversity argument is not very convincing and is of little relevance. To artificially keep an unsuccessful species alive in a specially protected environment has no genetic value. It increases the mis-match between the existing environment and the genetic profile needed to survive in that environment. In fact the biodiversity argument is only relevant for “life” in general and never for any particular species or group of species.  It can serve to maintain a very wide range of genetic material in the event of a catastrophe such that some form of life has a chance of continuing. But given a particular environment biodiversity in itself is of little value. …

…. All those species which succeed into the future will be those which continue to “evolve” and have the characteristics necessary to thrive within the world as it is being shaped and changed by the most successful species that ever lived (though we cannot be sure how far some particular species of dinosaur may have advanced). Putting a tiger into a zoo or a “protected” environment actually only preserves the tiger in an “unsuccessful” form in an artificial environment. Does this really count as “saving the species”? We might be of more use to the future of the tiger species if we intentionally bred them to find a new space in a changed world  – perhaps as urban tigers which can co-exist with man.

Smilodon image DinoAnimals.com

I’ll still make a donation to Project Tiger but that is about helping individuals to survive and has nothing to do with saving the species.


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Darwin’s finches can’t rely on natural selection to survive

December 18, 2015

It is only a mathematical model which predicts that a parasitic fly may drive Darwin’s finches to extinction. And the authors then suggest that human intervention is needed to “save” them because natural selection is just not potent enough or fast enough to allow them to adapt.

That’s all very well, but I feel compelled to speak up for the underdog – which is of course, the parasites. I note that Prof. Dale Clayton displays his prejudices when he says:

“They are maggots basically, is what they are,” said Prof Dale Clayton from the University of Utah, the senior author on the study. ….. “They are pretty nasty customers.”

Why the “specist” discrimination? Why should finches be in a privileged position compared to the flies? Their genes may not be threatened but they surely are more important, as a patently “fitter” species”, than those of the finches?

Another case of misguided conservation, where human intervention is proposed to protect an unfit species at the expense of a fitter species.

EurekAlert: 

Mathematical simulations at the University of Utah show parasitic flies may spell extinction for Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos Islands, but that pest-control efforts might save the birds that helped inspire the theory of evolution.

The new study “shows that the fly has the potential to drive populations of the most common species of Darwin’s finch to extinction in several decades,” says biology professor Dale Clayton, senior author of the study published online Dec. 18 in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

But the research “is not all doom and gloom,” he adds. “Our mathematical model also shows that a modest reduction in the prevalence of the fly – through human intervention and management – would alleviate the extinction risk.”

Mathematical simulations at the University of Utah show parasitic flies may spell extinction for Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos Islands, but that pest-control efforts might save the birds that helped inspire the theory of evolution.

The new study “shows that the fly has the potential to drive populations of the most common species of Darwin’s finch to extinction in several decades,” says biology professor Dale Clayton, senior author of the study published online Dec. 18 in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

But the research “is not all doom and gloom,” he adds. “Our mathematical model also shows that a modest reduction in the prevalence of the fly – through human intervention and management – would alleviate the extinction risk.”

Darwin’s finches image Wikipedia

The authors justify their unjustifiable proposals by invoking the meaningless god of “global diversity”.

The case of the flies and finches exemplifies how “introduced pathogens and other parasites pose a major threat to global diversity,” especially on islands, which tend to have smaller habitat sizes and lower genetic diversity, the researchers write.

It is only another alarmist mathematical model. Yet the fundamental reality, whenever a species goes extinct, is that it no longer has any significant part to play in an ecology. If it was relevant and significant to an ecology then its survival would be implicit. And what makes an ecology containing 10 species any better or any worse than an ecology containing 100 species? Surely it is the effectiveness or sustainability of that ecology which counts and not the number of species it contains.

A comment on the conservation of the Galapagos turtle

November 25, 2015

A reader commented on the About page about an old post where comments are closed.

Galapagos conservation project prevents the evolution of ninja turtles

Archie G Says:

Hello, I wanted to comment on a post but couldn’t find where to do it, so I’ll just do it here. About the Galapagos conservation project. I know your post was intended to be humurous but it think it is important to make this clear anyway: it was not a way to protect a charismatic species above an “ugly” species. Even if rats were there before Darwin arrived, they were an introduced european species (Rattus rattus) that had limited the perpetuation of Galapagos turtles since its introduction to the Island. The rats ate 100% of the hatchlings that had no predators before. It is not “specism”, rodents are not bad, but introduced species in general damage ecosystems, whether they are a pretty animal or not. Conservation is not a matter of some animalistic fan group, it takes years of research and effort to understand its mechanics.

But I beg to differ.

(The Galapagos turtle is itself an invasive species and how it got there is not known. And it is interesting to consider all the humans who were “introduced” to Australia and the New World as invasive species who – for the conservation of the indigenous peoples – should now be rooted out).

“Conservationists” are effectively making value judgements which are unjustified. When “general damage to an ecosystem” is quoted, a judgement has already been made as to which ecosystem is “good” and which is “bad”. But all these judgements always penalise the successful species and protect the unfit species. 

I think the Galapagos turtles are fantastically “charismatic” too, but they are fundamentally an unfit species. In evolutionary terms they are ripe for extinction. So are tigers. But they are being “saved” for the aesthetic sensibilities and the entertainment of humans – not for finding or creating an adapted neo-tiger or neo-turtle species which can find a real place in the world, rather than for surviving in a zoo. Protected reserves – as some of the Galapagos islands are – are little more than large zoos and their purpose is just for the entertainment and edification of humans.

“Conservation” as it is practiced today seeks to maintain a past, or an unviable status quo. Such “conservation” is flawed. In the name of “conservation”, reserves and zoos are used to create big cats for “canned hunting”. By default, a “huntable lion”, no good for anything other than being hunted, is now being bred. Far better to help a species to adapt to real, possible futures. Far better if species were helped (by genetic engineering perhaps) to adjust to the new realities and find a new place. What’s the point of saving a species, that is unfit for a current habitat, and freezing it in this unsuccessful form for a habitat which is no longer viable?

As the dominant species on this planet, humans will never allow some other species to become so successful as to be a threat. There is no moral reason they should. And species which cannot adapt to the dominant species are unfit and deserve to become extinct. After all, 99% of all species that have ever lived are now extinct.

Related:

Genetic adaptation – not stagnating conservation – is the way to help threatened species

Wolves which adapt to humans will be the wolves which survive

December 19, 2014

The endangered species on earth are mainly those which are failures. Species which fail to adapt to the loss of habitat as the human species succeeds. Natural selection is incapable of ensuring survival of these species when their environment changes so rapidly. But humans represent one of the few species which has demonstrated the ability to handle rapid change. We have adapted by constructing artefacts to maintain optimum conditions in which to live, by the use of medicine and also – though this is in its infancy – by genetic manipulation. We effectively maintain a “tropical” climate around ourselves wherever we are. In our homes, in our transport vehicles, in our work places and in our public places, we maintain benign conditions of temperature, wind speed, humidity and pressure. Whether living in the Arctic circle or in equatorial deserts, we maintain “comfortable”, tropical conditions around us. We use medicine to fight debilitating diseases. And now we are moving towards the prevention of the birth of individuals with faulty genes but also towards the intentional selection of desired genes.

Some species have successfully adapted to the expansion of humans and their changing circumstances. Many bird species, rats, urban foxes (who now differ genetically from “wild” foxes”), urban polar bears, baboons, langur monkeys and even leopards are examples of species which have adapted to take advantage of the changes and thrive in the new conditions. Domesticated species are dependent upon their usefulness to, and the goodwill of, humans. Much admired species such as, rhinos, tigers and elephants have not adapted and face extinction – as all failing species do. From the beginning of life on earth, the rule has been “Adapt or die” and it it still applies.

In the long run traditional “conservation” which is based on trying to freeze a failing species in an unviable genetic pattern, within artificial habitats which are merely prisons, is meaningless and counter-productive. Helping a species has to be about adaptation to the new conditions and not about genetic stagnation in new prisons. It is time we helped these species adapt and stopped just stuffing them into zoos.

A year ago I observed

Perhaps Siberian neo-tigers could be evolved genetically to help herd reindeer and develop a mutually beneficial partnership with man. An occasional reindeer kill would then be quite acceptable. It would be so much more constructive if neo-wolves were helped not to stagnate genetically, but instead to evolve the behavioural characteristics that allowed them to find a way of co-existing with humans and human flocks of sheep.

And now this story suggests that some wolves have already realised that “if you can’t fight the humans it is better to join them”!

BBC:

Villagers in Kazakhstan are increasingly turning to an unusual animal to guard their land – wolves, it’s been reported.

“You can buy a wolf cub for just $500 (£320), they say, and hunters are adamant that if treated well the wild animal can be tamed,” the KTK television channel reports. Nurseit Zhylkyshybay, from the south-eastern Almaty region, tells the channel he bought a wolf cub, Kurtka, from hunters three years ago, and the animal is perfectly happy wandering the yard of his house. “He’s never muzzled, I rarely put him on a chain and do take him for regular walks around the village. Our family and neighbours aren’t scared of him at all,” Mr Zhylkyshybay insists. “If the wolf is well fed and cared for, he won’t attack you, although he does eat a lot more than a dog.”

Nurseit Zhylkyshybay and his wolf

The face of wolves to come

Maybe these wolves will just become another line of dogs or perhaps they are the particular species of neo-wolf which will succeed in developing a mutually beneficial relationship with humans.

 

 

Nokia adapts genetically while Microsoft drops the “Nokia” brand

October 24, 2014
Nokia NMT900 1987

Nokia NMT900 1987

A few days ago Microsoft announced that it was dropping the “Nokia” brand and would continue with “Lumia”.  My first mobile phone ever was an NMT900 in 1988 or ’89. My first five mobile phones were all Nokias. It felt like the end of an era. As if some well loved species was going extinct.

Irish IndependentFor many of us it’s a name synonymous with mobile phones, but Microsoft is now officially axing the Nokia brand in favour of its own Lumia range of Windows smartphones.

The tech giant bought Nokia’s mobile division back in April for $7.2bn along with a 10-year deal to use the Finnish company’s name on smartphones. Now, however, it seems Microsoft wishes to push its own Lumia brand, the most successful iteration of the company’s Windows Phone OS – rival to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS systems.

The company actually began life in the 19 century as a single paper mill in what was then part of the Russian Empire. It grew into an industrial conglomerate with interests in everything from galoshes to gas masks, with the push into electronics only coming in the 1960s.

From the 1980s to 2000s it had a string of mobile hits (including the famous 3310 – one of the best selling mobile devices of all time, with more than 126 million units sold worldwide) but failed to keep on top of its smartphone competitors.

Windows Phone meanwhile continues to struggle against iOS and Android, with global market falling to 2.5 per cent. Microsoft will be hoping that Nokia’s ever-popular range of capable, low-end devices will eventually shuffle users in developing markets onto its OS, but nothing looks like it will shake Android and iOS in the high end.

But there is no need to be sad.

The brand is not going extinct. It is adapting and changing with the times. The company started with a paper mill and only enetered electronics in the 1960s. Now it has adapted and has returned to profit  – demonstrating the benefits of genetic evolution over stagnating conservation.

The Register: Nokia reported strong results on Thursday even after giving long-suffering shareholders a dividend and taking the hit of a one-time charge.

Profits rose to €353m on earnings of €3.3bn, up from €2.9bn a year ago. 

With the Windows Phone albatross thrown to a reluctant new owner, Nokia is now three divisions: network equipment (Nokia Networks), mapping (HERE) and IPR licensing (Nokia Technologies), but with €2.6bn of income, Networks provides most of the meat.

Nokia Networks sales rose 13 per cent year on year, based on LTE sales into China and North America, the company said. HERE grew 12 per cent, and IP licensing nine per cent to €152m; Microsoft is now a more important licensee. 

The company paid out €1.372bn in dividends and recorded a goodwill charge of €1.2bn against HERE’s profits, the latter reflecting a new evaluation of the division at €2bn.

The HERE charge reflected, “an adjustment to the HERE strategy and the related new long-range plan”. Nokia also spent €220m buying back shares.

Nokia made a string of mapping acquisitions in the Noughties, the largest of which was Navteq for $8.1bn (€5.6bn at the time). The company defended its continuing investment in HERE, declaring that “we continue to believe we have an opportunity to create significant value with the HERE business, as connected cars become more pervasive and as enterprises deploy new location-services to improve their productivity and efficiency”.

Despite all the charges, the company still has €5.4bn in cash and assets.

For a corporation to change its genetic code and shift away from a previously successful habitat and move into new territory is not easy. It needs changes to corporate competences and culture and shape and size – and many of the changes are painful. But Nokia seems to be well on the way to reinventing itself – again.

It is a lesson from the corporate world which should be taken to heart by all so-called conservationists. In the corporate world, continuing with a failing strategy, or a failing habitat or living in past glories does not help survival. It is genetic adaptation (from paper to tyres to gas masks to phones to networks) which provides Nokia with a new future. Similarly, in the animal world, trying to freeze failing species into a failed strategy in an artificial habitat is pointless. Genetic adaptation not stagnating conservation is the way to go.

 

In defence of the Quagga mussel

October 13, 2014

Quagga Mussel from Lake Michigan – image lakescientist.com

Here we go again! Yet another successful species is being demonised and attacked and oppressed just because it is successful.

A species of freshwater mussel – the Quagga Mussel – is being targeted by so-called conservationists in Europe and the US as an “invasive” or “alien” species. Just because it is successful. Just because it has made the hazardous journey from its origins across hostile environments inhabited by unfriendly humans to establish itself in fresh-water bodies in the Great Lakes and now across Europe and the UK.

It originates in the drainage of the River Dnieper in Ukraine into the Black Sea. It lives only in freshwater and can tolerate brackish water but is killed by the salt in the sea water. It is edible for humans but overeating can lead to the concentration of some toxins. But somehow it has managed to get across the Atlantic to the Great Lakes and to many canals and rivers in Europe. Now it has been found in the UK. Fresh water species from the ponto-Caspian region (from the Black, Caspian, and Azov seas) have been observed to be spreading westwards for many years.

R Dnieper – map KidsBrittanica

A new paper has chosen a suitably alarmist title to get massive coverage today from the UK newspapers and radio.

Gallardo and Aldridge, Is Great Britain heading for a Ponto–Caspian invasional meltdown?, Journal of Applied Ecology  10/2014; DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12348

The choice of alarmist vocabulary is itself off-putting. It suggests that the research is so unsound that it needs to be propped up by the language of the scandal-sheets!

“Alien”, “invasive”, “meltdown”, “catastrophic” are some of the words chosen. And not just mussels. They are accompanied by predatory, omnivorous, “killer shrimps”.

The GuardianAlien Quagga mussel may already have been joined by other invasive species

Scientists warn that the destructive mussel recently spotted in the UK, has probably been joined by additional undetected invaders, such as shrimp, that pose a threat to native wildlife.

A foreign mussel recently found for the first time in the UK is likely to have already been joined undetected by at least four other alien species that threaten native shrimp and fish, scientists warn on Monday.

The Quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis), which was found in the river Wraysbury on 1 October and can cover boat hulls and smother native mussels to death, is just one of a group of freshwater species that has been spreading westward from the Ponto-Caspian region in south-east Europe in recent years and which risk causing a “meltdown” as they invade Britain.

The south-east of England is most at risk from these invaders which can prey on native British freshwater species, substantially alter the ecology of waterways and wreak economic damage by blocking water pipes, according to a new study by a University of Cambridge team. …..

.. The study warns that the first wave of invaders, including the Quagga, are likely to act as a beachhead for further invaders from the Ponto-Caspian region, aiding their establishment. “Because there are so many of these organisms that have had a long evolutionary time to develop a cosy relationship with each other, what we’re finding is when they get over here they tend to facilitate each other,” said Aldridge.

Quagga mussels reached the Great Lakes some time ago

LakeScientist:

An increase in water clarity in Lake Michigan is actually cause for concern. The heightened clarity is due to quagga mussels, an invasive species. Gary Fahnsteil, a senior ecologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes field station in Muskegon, Mich., was a part of a group of scientists who measured Lake Michigan’s water quality.

Clear water is usually a welcome phenomenon; however, the 950 trillion quagga mussels are making Lake Michigan too clear to support aquatic life, especially for salmon and the other fish they consume. Fahnsteil and others consider quagga mussels to be the most detrimental of the 186 invasive species that occupy the Great Lakes. The mussels’ eating behavior wreaks havoc on the aquatic food chain at every level. In 2000, Great Lakes researchers discovered a phenomenon they called the doughnut in the desert,” a massive, ring-shaped bloom of aquatic plants that helps sustain aquatic animals that stay in the lakes during the winter. The bloom appears in March and April.

However, they also discovered that quagga mussels have taken a big bite out of the “doughnut.” As a result, the animals that rely on it face starvation in the winter. Furthermore, the fish that feed off of those species could starve as well.

Well with the entire scientific and alarmist bastions against them it doesn’t look good for the Quagga mussel. They are now one of the oppressed species. But I am rooting for them. Having traveled from Ukraine across oceans of hostile salt water, they deserve to enjoy all their successes.

 

Polar bears neither threatened nor endangered

June 10, 2014

It has become increasingly clear that polar bear numbers have been grossly (and probably intentionally) underestimated and that reality is beginning to displace the alarmist myth of the species being under threat. Canada has declined to classify the polar bears as being “threatened or endangered”.

This has not pleased the environmental priesthood  at all. The Center for Biological Diversity has lobbied heavily in the US against the Canadian decision not to toe the politically correct lineThey appealed to an international NAFTA environmental panel to “investigate”  Canada’s failure to implement NAFTA rules by failing to classify the thriving polar bears as “threatened and endangered”.

This appeal has been rejected.

Polar bears remain unthreatened and unendangered in Canada.

An international trade panel has decided not to review whether Canada is enforcing its own environmental legislation to protect its polar bear population.

photo Geoff York/Reuters

cbcnews:

An international trade panel has decided not to review whether Canada is enforcing its own environmental legislation to protect its polar bear population.

The Commission for Environmental Co-operation voted 2-1 to reject a request for an investigation into why Canada has chosen not to designate the bears as threatened or endangered. A U.S. environmental group had filed a submission claiming that decision leaves the bears without protection, despite the ongoing loss of their sea-ice habitat and resulting projections of declining numbers.

Related:

Activists pressure tactics to force Canada to list polar bears as ‘threatened’ have failed June 7th, 2014

Canada under international pressure to list polar bears as threatened, so far holds out January 27, 2013

Canada again under international pressure to list polar bears as threatened November 24, 2013

Polar bear numbers systematically underestimated by 25-30%

May 31, 2014

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a conservation lobby group. As with all advocacy groups (WWF, FoE, Greenpeace….) much of their “science” has to be taken with a large bushel of salt. Needless to say they have “observer” status at the UN. In any event they have a Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) and much of the unfounded alarmism about the polar bear being a threatened species originates with them. As with other advocacy groups they systematically ignore data which does not advance their theses. They are not averse to data manipulation when it suits them.

In fact polar bears are thriving. The IUCN -PBSG now admits – in a little footnote – that their numbers in 5 large zones have just been ignored and set to zero for lack of data. Actual polar bear numbers are probably well in excess of 30,000. Since 2001, the PBSG has systematically ignored 5 large sub-populations of polar bears as Dr. Susan Crockford reports on her blog:

…. none of these ‘global population estimates’ (from 2001 onward) came anywhere close to being estimates of the actual world population size of polar bears (regardless of how scientifically inaccurate they might have been) — rather, they were estimates of only the subpopulations that Arctic biologists have tried to count.

For example, the PBSG’s  most recent global estimate (range 13,071-24,238) ignores five very large subpopulation regions which between them potentially contain 1/3 as many additional bears as the official estimate includes (see map below). The PBSG effectively gives them each an estimate of zero.

Based on previous PBSG estimates and other research reports, it appears there are probably at least another 6,000 or so bears living in these regions and perhaps as many as 9,000 (or more) that are not included in any PBSG “global population estimate”: Chukchi Sea ~2,000-3,000; East Greenland, ~ 2,000-3,000; the two Russian regions together (Laptev Sea and Kara Sea), another ~2,000-3,000 or so, plus 200 or so in the central Arctic Basin. These are guesses, to be sure, but they at least give a potential size.

I find the entire thrust of Conservationism to be fundamentally flawed. Threatened species are genetic and evolutionary failures in the sense that they do not have the genetic variability necessary to continue in a changing world. Trying to stop the change they cannot cope with is a futile exercise. If conservation of a species has to mean anything, then selected, threatened species have to be helped to adapt to the inevitable change – genetically if necessary.

Copenhagen Zoo’s justifications for killing Marius if applied to humans

February 12, 2014

Copenhagen Zoo has been marshalling support on the scientific and the ethical plane to try and justify their decision to kill Marius the healthy giraffe. They protest too much and it is a revealing exercise to apply their argumentation to humans.

Their basic theme is that He died so that others could live

Capital punishment could be applied for all humans convicted of murder or  causing a fatal accident or whose genes are defective in any way so that others may live. In current Danish politics, the wrong skin colour in a human is indicative of defective genes.

Culling is for the greater good of the giraffes

The man who pulled the trigger, the zoo’s own veterinarian Mads Frost Bertelsen, says that a very positive situation lies behind the Zoo’s action. 

”Up until now, we have not had to cull the giraffes. But now we have reached the point where the population is doing so well that a giraffe like Marius could not be relocated. Then the best solution is to put him down,” says Mads Frost Bertelsen.

The vet explains that a central European coordinator keeps track of pedigrees, and which genes are represented by individual giraffes in European zoos. The coordinator estimated from these data that Marius’ genes were already well represented and recommended that Marius was killed to protect the population best suited to the gene pool.

But now we have reached the point where the human population is doing so well in so many countries. Many individuals cannot be relocated. From East Europe or Africa to Europe for example. Then the best solution is to put them down, especially if their genes are already well represented. Something like the policy China had. Enforced abortion for all children after the first. 

The right time for Marius to die

Marius was allowed to live for one and a half years, then that was it. At that age he can, according to Bertelsen, be described as a ‘teenager’. It was an age when his father had also started roughing him up.

“In the wild he would leave the herd. If he were lucky, he would meet and join up with other young male giraffes. If he were  unlucky, he would be killed by lions,” says Mads Frost Bertelsen, explaining that it was not unnatural for Marius to die young.

In fact, the young male giraffes are most at risk of being killed and eaten on the savannah, because they do not have the protection of the herd when they are looking for females to mate.

If contraception or abortion are not permitted then the individual can be allowed to live for a while and put down just before it reaches child-bearing age. Lions and other carnivores could soon develop a liking for human flesh.

How to lead a natural life in the zoo

The Copenhagen Zoo lets the animals breed because one of the biggest challenges of keeping animals in captivity is that they are bored. …… a great activity for the captive animals is to find a partner, nest, have offspring, feed an raise their offspring, and finally spend energy on throwing the kids out.

“The side effect is that we have a surplus of animals. It is in fact fortunate that we can use them as food. Instead of killing 20 goats or a cow, we can use the giraffe,” says Mads Frost Bertelsen. ….. 

“Our function is not to keep the individual animal alive, but to keep the species alive,” says the Jens Sigsgaard and continues:

“We have decided that even if an animal is over-represented in the gene pool, we will let it breed and have as normal a life as possible. We prefer to kill ‘surplus animals’ rather than send them to zoos we cannot approve.”

For defective humans or humans of low intelligence, breeding could be encouraged as an antidote to boredom. Surplus individuals produced by such breeding can always then be culled and used as food. They should be killed rather than being sent to countries unwilling to accept them or to countries which cannot be approved.

The adult animals breed – the young must die

Aalborg Zoo has several arguments for allowing animals to breed, even if it may result in too many babies. …. “The animals are allowed to breed because it is an important part of their natural behavior to have offspring and experience the process of taking care of the them. Looking after the young is one of the best and most natural ways to occupy animals in captivity, In the wild there comes a time when the baby is old enough to break away from the mother and maybe become part of another group. That is the time when we try to find another well-suited zoo for it. If that is not possible, the young animal must be put down,” ”says Jens Sigsgaard. 

The animals can also be adversely affected if they are not allowed to breed and have offspring. They may find it difficult ever to start breeding again. And if there are no kids in the flock, the younger animals will not get the experience of what it is like to care for babies. 

The humans with the defective genes are allowed to breed as part of their natural behaviour. But when any young individual is old enough to break away from the mother we can try and find a new location for the individual. If that is not possible then it must be put down.

It is not the killing of an animal that is the problem; it is allowing the individual to be bred with the intention of killing it (and where the feeding of the carcass to lions is only incidental). And there is a difference in the breeding of mice for the purpose of being fed to snakes.

Animals are kept captive and alive in zoos just for gawking at. Once upon a time we did that with human “freaks”. I would like to think that we are more “civilised” now where I take “civilised” to be elegance in behaviour. The behaviour of Copenhagen Zoo with Marius was particularly inelegant.

The fundamental issue is that Copenhagen Zoo – like all zoos – are places for human entertainment.  They fool themselves – and others – into thinking that they are performing a scientific or conservation function – but that is just twaddle. (That is also the fundamental flaw in the conservation of species in zoos where – instead of trying to get the species to adapt genetically – the zoos try to “freeze” the animals genetically in a frozen and artificially maintained habitat).

There is something lacking in the ethics of Copenhagen Zoo – and all zoos for that matter.

Successful owl species to be killed off to assist an unsuccessful owl species!

July 24, 2013

“Conservation” is fundamentally anti-evolution if human intervention is to protect unviable species while killing off the successful ones. And here it would seem that the intervention by the US Fish and Wildlife Service is more to atone for their past sins than for any sound principles. All in the name of “Conservation”.

Barred owl

A barred owl is seen near Index, Wash. The federal government is considering killing some of the owls in the Pacific Northwest to aid the smaller northern spotted owl in the area. (Barton Glasser / Associated Press)LATimes: 

LA Times: Federal wildlife officials have moved one step closer to their plan to play referee in a habitat supremacy contest that has pitted two species of owl against one another in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a final environmental review of an experiment planned in three states to see if killing barred owls will assist the northern spotted owls, which are threatened with extinction after a major loss of territory since the 1970s.

The agency’s preferred course of action calls for killing 3,603 barred owls in four study areas in Oregon, Washington and Northern California over the next four years. At a cost of $3 million, the plan requires a special permit under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits killing non-game birds.

“It’s a fair assessment to say that going after the barred owls is the plan we’d prefer to pursue,” Robin Bown, a federal wildlife biologist, told the Los Angeles Times.

The agency began evaluating alternatives in 2009, gathering public comment and consulting ethicists, focus groups and conduction scientific studies.

It will issue a final decision on the plan in 30 days.

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