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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 10:00 am 
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hellihooks wrote:
I agree that Sam's comments are the most constructive ideas I've heard for some time. I'm not qualified to advance that discussion.

As to why people are slow/reluctant to change their 'views'... I deal with in depth in the 'Unifying Foundational Basis for Ethical Thought' I'm working on.

Everything we do in life, is subject to our finitude, and limited amount of 'life's time'. Everyone rationalizes that they are spending their time in the best manner possible, which justifies their actions. It's only when one has been persuaded that he/she has been 'wasting time' by spending his/her limited amount of time in a poor fashion, and that a better use of their time exists, will they change their views and behavior.

EVERYONE fights vehemently for what they believe is best, for to do otherwise would be tantamount to admitting they have been 'wasting their lives', and nothing is worse than that.

With the exception of 'religious experiences', logic alone has the power to 'persuade' people to change, but most folks have a hard time arguing dispassionately, and I commend everyone here who have striven to keep this discussion at such a high level. :thumb: jim

i may not know the actual 'meaning' of life (yet ;) ) but the 'purpose' of life is... not to waste what little of it we have. 8-)



The hot blooded matrimony to our world view - even when it is presented to our fellows as a superior, purely intellectual choice, often has a strained feel that fits what you describe. That tone of dear core and dire.

But absorbing new information is exciting and some of the most valuable things ive ever learned, have been when Ive realized I was mistaken. These have been things that turned out to have much more Useful impact, as well as, well, revelatory which is way worth the risks .

So cool you described this, fascinating your UFBET


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 2:36 pm 
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To hellihooks' latest reply, I can only caveat with: logic only persuades the logical. Logical fallacies certainly persuade those who either choose not to think critically, or have never been taught how to do so. :?

Regarding gbin's latest reply--I don't THINK it was directed at me (proposing organizing, however loosely, as a larger 'herp-related community'); after all, I proposed to make such an organization as big an umbrella as possible, while allowing that there will be differences of opinion on the details.

In that regard, I will say this: the Herper Survey currently running attempts to capture the zeitgeist of ALL reptile and amphibian enthusiasts, to quantify exactly what said enthusiasts' opinions truly are (rather than only reflect FHF members' opinions, wildly different though they may be, for example). That is why I've reached out to several organizations, including many whom I have a gut feeling may be diametrically opposed to my OWN personal viewpoints, for example--their voices 'matter' just as much as hard-core field herpers, keepers, and others.

Several organizations/agencies (including various state DFGs) are taking great interest in the results, which will be publicly available after the survey closes. Instead of just assuming said results will accurately portray (or at least incorporate) YOUR OWN opinions, please make those opinions known by participating.

Yes, shameless plug--because I sincerely feel it's important. www.surveymonkey.com/s/herpersurvey2013


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 2:37 pm 
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So, in other words Jim, people react and believe according to their own experiences and persuasions, and do not change until their experience is proven wrong or incomplete. I just had to simplify that for you.... :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 2:59 pm 
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Quote:
Logical fallacies certainly persuade those who either choose not to think critically, or have never been taught how to do so. :?



I have a friend, grad student, well read with diverse sensibilities. He is fun to talk to, however often when listening to another speak he will shift his wieght foward and back in stifled eagerness, as his mind scans for the smallest ledge to grab in disagreement, he robotically debates subjects even if they are brand new to him.

Automatic responses and styles of thinking seem self limiting, whether academically taught or personally innate.


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 3:19 pm 
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Kelly Mc wrote:
I have a friend, grad student, well read with diverse sensibilities. He is fun to talk to, however often when listening to another speak he will shift his wieght foward and back in stifled eagerness, as his mind scans for the smallest ledge to grab in disagreement, he robotically debates subjects even if they are brand new to him.

Automatic responses and styles of thinking seem self limiting, whether academically taught or personally innate.



Thinking critically doesn't have to mean trying to dismantle someone's argument, though it can easily go down that road. I'd call your friend's behavior 'listening to respond,' rather than 'listening to listen.' Some people just like to argue, even if it doesn't further the conversation. 8-)

And I'm not averse to employing logical fallacies myself, when I deem them useful against non-critical-thinkers (or non-thinkers!).


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 3:32 pm 
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What do you mean by the term Logical Fallacy?

Is it different than a rational connection when talking with one of similiar scope, or do you mean creating a metaphor to give an idea a more recognizable shape to one of dissimiliar scope?


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 4:09 pm 
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What i also mean to say is, that debate sometimes becomes a vortex that takes on a life of its own, that surpasses any sincere desire to explore the topic. Basic ego instincts are touched and become the dominant tone.

Contests are boring compared to discovery and as was mentioned before - being married to an opinion means an opportunity to really engage with the subject matter together is lost.


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 7:47 pm 
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Kelly Mc wrote:
What do you mean by the term Logical Fallacy?

Is it different than a rational connection when talking with one of similiar scope, or do you mean creating a metaphor to give an idea a more recognizable shape to one of dissimiliar scope?



One of Many Lists of Logical Fallacies, with Examples


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 8:25 pm 
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Woe -- thats alot of stuff to wrestle with before it hits your mouth.

I just looked up another article too that dissected Logical Fallacy . Very interesting but a struggle. Hey you never know what you may be turned on to here at FHF.

Thanks 8-) <----- This guy, again, reminds me of you ( :


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 8:51 pm 
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Respectfully to the topic and to Richard and all of the posters - forgive my momentary presence and light comment here on this thread. I know there are more important matters at hand.


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 9:58 pm 
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Ribbit wrote:
I for one feel that I have learned enough from this thread to change my viewpoint to some degree. I think Richard Hoyer and some others have made a persuasive and dispassionate case about the unlikelihood of non-commercial collecting to significantly impact the population of most herp species, and the unhelpfulness and even counterproductiveness of current collecting regulations. I have heard these points made many times, but nearly always with such a high ratio of emotion+condescension+certainty to explanation that I was left unpersuaded.

I'd like to thank the participants who explained their points of view calmly and clearly while those around them did not.



That's awesome John. I agree that the high degree of condescension in some of the posts is one of the main issues that turns people off from being willing to change.

I also want to apologize that I got a little too emotional/aggressive in the middle of the discussion.

Adding to your positive "fruit" of the discussion, one of the most vocal anti-collecting participants in this thread emailed me almost a month ago to state that he completely agreed with a major point I had just made. I'm not sure why he said that privately and not publicly, but it was still good to hear.

I know with myself personally (who has changed a lot of personal opinions after strong arguments with others), sometimes it just has to wait until after the heat of the argument is over for me to realize the other person was right, and only then will I start vocally acknowledging it and changing my position. I think people change their views much more often than we realize, if they are approached the right way.


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 27th, 2013, 5:22 am 

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Richard F. Hoyer wrote:
As I mentioned previously, there is no reason for managing species for which management is not needed.

Richard F. Hoyer



Do you ever believe there were species that didn't "need" management at one time, that needed management decades later for any number of reasons?

What would be the harm in being pro-active in the hopes of preventing them from getting in that needing management situation?

To me the only downside is the potential for resources being put into managing these resources that currently don't need management where it could be better used elsewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 27th, 2013, 5:28 am 
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"I think people change their views much more often than we realize, if they are approached the right way."

Approach determines response. A valuable lesson that was reinforced time and again when I worked in Arizona's prison system years ago.

- Kris


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 27th, 2013, 5:32 am 
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Do you ever believe there were species that didn't "need" management at one time, that needed management decades later for any number of reasons?

What would be the harm in being pro-active in the hopes of preventing them from getting in that needing management situation?


Then you're managing based upon the Precautionary Principle vs managing based on science and scientific validation.

Not a sound management strategy in my mind, but I'm sure others may disagree.

Is it good to be aware of and take into account potential changes over time? Absolutely. Is it good policy to base your entire management strategy on hypothetical scenarios that may or may not happen at some point in future time? I don't believe so. That's akin to spending a dollar today because you may win the lottery tomorrow....

-Kris


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 27th, 2013, 5:36 am 

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azatrox wrote:


Then you're managing based upon the Precautionary Principle vs managing based on science and scientific validation.

Not a sound management strategy in my mind, but I'm sure others may disagree.

Is it good to be aware of and take into account potential changes over time? Absolutely. Is it good policy to base your entire management strategy on hypothetical scenarios that may or may not happen at some point in future time? I don't believe so. That's akin to spending a dollar today because you may win the lottery tomorrow....

-Kris



Fair enough. I can think of a few other reasons why it might not be a good idea to do so, but I guess it is mainly a philosophical consideration.


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 27th, 2013, 6:23 am 
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jonathan wrote:
Adding to your positive "fruit" of the discussion, one of the most vocal anti-collecting participants in this thread emailed me almost a month ago to state that he completely agreed with a major point I had just made. I'm not sure why he said that privately and not publicly, but it was still good to hear.


I think that was me. Let me try to explain.

From what I have seen, this thread hasn't been about people changing each other's views. It's been about gradually discovering each other's real views through a fog of misunderstanding and prejudice. Still a positive thing, but not quite as advanced as changing someone's mind. When people read words or phrases that trigger a memory or an emotion, they often stop comprehending what they read and focus instead on preconceived ideas about the author or the subject matter, or they fall into broadly categorizing people and ideas into good and bad, right and wrong, smart and stupid, etc. I'm certainly guilty of this - I would never have participated in this thread if Richard's post hadn't triggered an emotional response, and in the end, I find that I mostly agree with Richard's viewpoint, although I disagree with the language and the method he used to get it across originally (although going on the evidence from this thread that appears to mainly be my problem). I also feel that this is the principle driving people to categorize me as a "vocal anti-collector," even though I'm pretty sure I've never in my life said I was against collecting. To be sure, I would never call myself "pro-collector," but seeing my argument as an anti-collecting argument is missing the point I was trying to make.

I'm sure some people in this thread came to some level of understanding with each other's views, and maybe a few minds were even changed. In the end, I decided to quit the thread because I was frustrated with the slow process of breaking through that fog. I responded to Jonathan and some others individually to let them know I agreed with their points (and really, I agree with most of the points made in the thread), but I ran out of ways to say the same thing over and over on the thread, and I didn't feel like I was adding anything to the discussion at that point.

There are people arguing against blanket protection, but it doesn't seem like anybody disagrees that there are certain situations where protection can be helpful. There are people saying they dislike the idea of taking animals from the wild, but I didn't see anyone arguing that collection should be abolished. There are varying opinions on the effect of collecting on animal populations, but I doubt anyone here really believes collecting is a bigger threat than habitat loss. Some of us prefer photographing wild herps, and some of us prefer breeding them, but we all want the animals to do well, or we wouldn't be having this discussion. So what is the fundamental disagreement? What are we arguing about? I think it's mainly wording, rhetorical style, tone, and just general misunderstanding that are driving this argument, not our basic principles, which I believe are in reality so close that to an outsider they would be essentially indistinguishable.


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 27th, 2013, 7:24 am 

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Chris, and Hubbs,
it doesn't always take a high-level argument to change someone's point of view... often folks realize these things on their own, or learn from example (think Ghandi, etc) Think of someone somewhere on the 'learning curve' of herping... from rampant collector to say observation only or data collection only, or even 'pics only'. Where ever any given person is at... he/she can and will provide justifications for why his/her position is creditable, and the best use of their time that they can imagine. Show them (by example or discussion) a better way... and they will adopt it as their own. That's the good news, and (I believe) a reason for hope.

Sorry for the 'sidetrack' Richard, but before any concrete changes can be realized, viewpoints will have to change first, and I thought that if folks considered 'why' viewpoints change, it might allow them to consider their stance more objectively.
" The unexamined life is not worth living " -Socretes


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 27th, 2013, 7:24 am 
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Quote:
There are varying opinions on the effect of collecting on animal populations, but I doubt anyone here really believes collecting is a bigger threat than habitat loss. Some of us prefer photographing wild herps, and some of us prefer breeding them, but we all want the animals to do well, or we wouldn't be having this discussion. So what is the fundamental disagreement? What are we arguing about? I think it's mainly wording, rhetorical style, tone, and just general misunderstanding that are driving this argument, not our basic principles, which I believe are in reality so close that to an outsider they would be essentially indistinguishable.


I agree with this last section, to a degree anyway.


Image

Fundad


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 27th, 2013, 8:16 am 
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chris_mcmartin wrote:
Regarding gbin's latest reply--I don't THINK it was directed at me (proposing organizing, however loosely, as a larger 'herp-related community'); after all, I proposed to make such an organization as big an umbrella as possible, while allowing that there will be differences of opinion on the details.

Absolutely not, Chris. I heartily applaud your efforts and wish to support them in any way I can. :thumb:

Kelly Mc wrote:
I have a friend, grad student, well read with diverse sensibilities. He is fun to talk to, however often when listening to another speak he will shift his wieght foward and back in stifled eagerness, as his mind scans for the smallest ledge to grab in disagreement, he robotically debates subjects even if they are brand new to him.

It's a phase that a lot of graduate students go through, Kelly. They spend a fair amount of time in graduate-level seminars in which they do things such as read various published scientific papers and then sit around and critique the papers as a group. The exercise is meant to develop in them skepticism, critical thinking and argumentative abilities, but more than a few students get swept away for at least a while by what they're learning. It used to bug me even as a graduate student (but then I probably simply went through a similar phase earlier in life, having been a skeptical and argumentative brat from the first ;) ); more than once I stopped a group in which I was participating from what seemed to have developed into nothing but a b*tch session by saying something like "Is there really nothing in this paper that anyone thinks was done or said well? Shouldn't we be learning to recognize what's good and to express what's agreeable in a work, too?"

Kelly Mc wrote:
... debate sometimes becomes a vortex that takes on a life of its own, that surpasses any sincere desire to explore the topic...

Amen! Wheel-spinning is my favorite metaphor for it. Not just unproductive but actually downright counterproductive. Debate can be healthy, absolutely, but not once it becomes nothing more than an unending reiteration of entrenched positions.

jonathan wrote:
Ribbit wrote:
I for one feel that I have learned enough from this thread to change my viewpoint to some degree. I think Richard Hoyer and some others have made a persuasive and dispassionate case about the unlikelihood of non-commercial collecting to significantly impact the population of most herp species, and the unhelpfulness and even counterproductiveness of current collecting regulations. I have heard these points made many times, but nearly always with such a high ratio of emotion+condescension+certainty to explanation that I was left unpersuaded.

I'd like to thank the participants who explained their points of view calmly and clearly while those around them did not.

That's awesome John.

Seconded! I greatly appreciate hearing that feedback - regardless of whether I'm one of those thought better or worse of for argumentative style. ;)

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 27th, 2013, 8:34 pm 

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jimco742
As for your first question, there are many examples in which that scenario has taken place. As for your second question, you pretty much provided the answer yourself. And azatrox (Kris) chimed in with a good explanation as well.

Besides what has been covered in this thread, there is another way of examining the issues inherent in this thread is as follows:
For over 99 % of all species of wildlife, vertebrates and invertebrates, it should be understood that there is zero demand. So expending human effort and
monetary resources towards managing such wildlife (for which there is zero demand) is not only impractical, but a worthless enterprise as well.

The major factors that contribute to the decline of most species have nothing to do with the demand, or the collecting / harvesting of species. One can visualize this scenario by observing the number of invertebrate species listed in some category of concern by either state wildlife agencies and / or the federal government.

The vast majority of species that have experienced a significant reductions in abundance / distribution is a result of human activities other than harvesting and collecting. For most species that have been legitimately identified in some category of concern, the most common factors responsible for such decline are habitat degradation or outright loss of habitat. Where such listed species have been documented by legitimate evidence and where known or potential threats have been identified, then management strategies are clearly indicated. An example here in Oregon where managing is taking place is the Blue Fender Butterfly which I believe is both federally and state listed.

Instead of addressing the actual factors responsible for the decline of species (habitat loss and / or degradation), for reasons that are not clear (to me), state wildlife agencies have followed the nonsensical and ineffectual policy of placing species in a hands-off, protected status. Such a policy has absolutely no conservation value for the majority of species that have experienced a significant reduction in their distributions and / or numerical abundance.

I suspect that one major problem is that current legislation / regulations may not provide the wherewithal for wildlife agencies to effectively protect, conserve, rehabilitate, and / or create favorable habitat for species truly at risk.

But at the same time, I believe wildlife agencies could spend the major part of their efforts on species at risk by taking better advantage of the available processes used by land trusts and other conservation / environmental organizations (Nature Conservancy). That is, they could form partnerships with the private sector in order to preserve and set aside habitat for wildlife. I believe a current example of such a process has been the cooperative agreement between the Tejon Ranch Corporation in California and a number of environmental / conservation organizations.

Richard F. Hoyer


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 27th, 2013, 8:59 pm 

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There is yet another significant problem with the manner in which state wildlife agencies operate that I did not mention previously nor in my most recent post. Note that in the preceding post, I twice used the word 'legitimate' when referring to species that have been listed by state agencies in some category of concern.

Unfortunately, wildlife agencies have many bogus listings of species in some category of concern. That is, such listings were accomplished by junk-science methods without much if any valid evidence in support of such listings.

For example, in my home state of Oregon, four species of snakes were placed in the ODFW's Sensitive Species category and simultaneously placed in a protected (no-collecting) status. At the time of the initial listings, none of these species (Ground Snake, Calif. Mt. Kingsnake, Common Sharp-tailed Snake, Common Kingsnake) had been studied in this state and thus there was a TOTAL VOID of any factual evidence in support of those listing. And since their listing by ODFW, there still is absolutely no factual evidence that would support their continued listing.

It is my understanding that this same scenario applies to many, if not most (perhaps all) other state wildlife agencies.

The one example in California of which I have sufficient knowledge (evidence / data) for such a bogus listing is that of the Southern Rubber Boa (C. b. umbratica). The SRB was officially listed in 1971 by the CDFG (now CDFW), as "Rare", later changed to "Threatened" to conform with federal designations. At the time of that listing, there was no valid evidence in support of that listing. The CDFG listing of the SRB was based on the perceptions and personal opinions of a panel of herpetologists the agency had convened for the purpose of reviewing species thought to be at risk.

In 1971, there were very few SRB voucher specimens (about 19) in institutional collections and few locality records / sightings. Neither of those reasons are evidence or a valid basis for listing a species. Few sighting and few vouchers are not an indication of rarity and can be explained by other factors.

For decades, and possibly to the present time, many professional and amateur herpetologists, wildlife biologists, and others have considered the Rubber Boa to be rare throughout its distribution in North America. I have involved myself with the species since the early 1960s and I believe I have sufficient evidence to indicate just the opposite is true.

That is, instead of being rare, the species more likely occurs at normal densities in relation to the quality of occupied habitat and the existing environmental conditions similar to most all other species of wildlife. Being mostly fossorial, the species is thus very secretive not often encountered on the surface, often difficult to find thereby producing the PERCEPTION of being rare.

So the end result of wildlife agencies having listed many species by invalid methods is that they waste both time and funding toward managing non-existent and imagined problems. The Southern Rubber Boa is a classical example of that very scenario. And you can take this to the bank. I would challenge any CDFW biologist, official, herpetologist, or anyone to produce factual evidence that would support the state listed Threatened status of the Southern Rubber Boa.

Last, Kris (azatrox) mentioned the following:
"Then you're managing based upon the Precautionary Principle vs. managing based on science and scientific validation." That opens yet another 'can of worms' as some state wildlife agencies have used the so-called 'Precautionary Principle' as a justification for listing species.

I suspect that some individuals on this forum have adopted the PP as being legitimate. I consider the PP to be yet another fraud. A number of years ago on the PARC web site, I produced a mini-essay that critically examined the fallacies inherent with the use of the PP. Should others wish to be informed, I can post a copy.

Richard F. Hoyer


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 28th, 2013, 2:03 am 
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Please do post that essay at your convenience, Richard.

I would be very disappointed if any of the participants in this discussion did not want to read it (and be informed).


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 28th, 2013, 9:17 am 
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Richard's excellent essay "The Fallacy of Perceptions" was published in the Journal of Kansas Herpetology, Number 21 (March 2007). A PDF of that issue may be obtained HERE.


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 29th, 2013, 11:39 am 

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John and others:
By initiating this thread, my purpose was to inform with the prospect that some individuals would rethink their positions.

But the reality is that a change in thinking needs to occur within wildlife agency leadership. Such leadership would need to acknowledge that the current policy of placing species in a protected, hand-off status has absolutely no conservation value and instead, conserving and protecting habitat is imperative if species are to be truly protected.

To understand this reality, one only has to examine what has transpired since the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed in the early 1900s. The MBTA placed non-game birds into a no-take, 'protected' status. Of course, there never was demand for most species such as sparrows, wrens, swifts, vireos, swallows, warblers and the like which never have been
'harvested' either for food, feathers, or for pets.

Yet a fair number of such species have ended up being federally and / or state listed in some category of concern including threatened or endangered not because they were harvested but because their habitat has been degraded and / or converted to other human use. It thus should be clear that the original placing of such species in a 'protected', no-take status did not protect such listed species at all.

To further understand that the blanket no-take, protection policy is of no value, we only have to examine what has transpired with the exceptions inherent in the MBTA. That is, many 'game' species were exempted. Millions of such game birds have been harvested for many decades yet have maintained sustainable populations.

It seems reasonable that some wildlife officials understand the above. But because bureaucratic policies tend to have there own inertia and the current practices are so widespread and accepted as being the norm, change is not likely until some individual with stature and influence takes positive steps that could set a precedence.

Richard F. Hoyer


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 29th, 2013, 12:27 pm 
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I tend to take a somewhat more cynical view than Richard about why things are the way they are: The unhappy fact is that it's so much easier to simply slap blanket protection on something and pretend that the job of conserving it is thereby done. It makes politicians and agency administrators look good, and whether or not it actually accomplishes anything is a far lower concern.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: November 29th, 2013, 5:10 pm 

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on a slightly different note, one reason it's probably so easy to ban something like sparrows is precisely because there is a no demand so likely no interest groups to demand access. In the case of snakes, it's even worse. A large group of people specifically don't want us to have snakes, not because they care about snakes, but because they just don't like snakes. Despite the fact that most snakes aren't dangerous, local laws against snake keeping grow by the day. I doubt any politician is going to want to come out in favor of making sure a small group's right to keep as many snakes as they please is protected. I see a relatively bleak future for snake keepers. I imagine even staples like boas will be more or less banned from ownership by the end of my life and the habitat left for wild snakes will be limited to a handful of conservation areas where it's believed only "experts" should be allowed to interact with them. Sorry guys, I hope I am wrong but I don't think things are likely to get better.


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 8:01 am 
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Richard F. Hoyer wrote:
John and others:
By initiating this thread, my purpose was to inform with the prospect that some individuals would rethink their positions.

But the reality is that a change in thinking needs to occur within wildlife agency leadership. Such leadership would need to acknowledge that the current policy of placing species in a protected, hand-off status has absolutely no conservation value and instead, conserving and protecting habitat is imperative if species are to be truly protected.

To understand this reality, one only has to examine what has transpired since the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed in the early 1900s. The MBTA placed non-game birds into a no-take, 'protected' status. Of course, there never was demand for most species such as sparrows, wrens, swifts, vireos, swallows, warblers and the like which never have been
'harvested' either for food, feathers, or for pets.

Yet a fair number of such species have ended up being federally and / or state listed in some category of concern including threatened or endangered not because they were harvested but because their habitat has been degraded and / or converted to other human use. It thus should be clear that the original placing of such species in a 'protected', no-take status did not protect such listed species at all.

To further understand that the blanket no-take, protection policy is of no value, we only have to examine what has transpired with the exceptions inherent in the MBTA. That is, many 'game' species were exempted. Millions of such game birds have been harvested for many decades yet have maintained sustainable populations.

It seems reasonable that some wildlife officials understand the above. But because bureaucratic policies tend to have there own inertia and the current practices are so widespread and accepted as being the norm, change is not likely until some individual with stature and influence takes positive steps that could set a precedence.

Richard F. Hoyer


There was an article in National Geographic not long ago about the plight of migratory birds in Europe, which face a gauntlet of nets, sticks coated with lime, shotguns, and other man-made hazards between their breeding grounds and their wintering grounds in Africa. In Europe, their birds are dealing not only with habitat loss but with significant hunting pressure which may actually drive some species extinct within a matter of decades or less. Now, if we lifted protection for non-game birds, we wouldn't necessarily have thousands of people out trapping and shooting sparrows and vireos, but there's nothing to say that some people wouldn't go out and try to create markets for them. People do eat (and wear) songbirds. We already know, from what happened to our wading birds during the millinery era, that a big enough market can destroy bird populations. So what would the other options be besides blanket protection? Trying to determine bag limits and seasons for each of the 900 or so non-game species in the country? That's a monumental waste of resources.

Bird scientists and enthusiasts worked really hard around the turn of the last century to change the way our culture interacts with birds. Back then, we shot anything we could sell or eat, and anything that we thought was a pest (raptors in particular). Now, our non-game species are almost universally left alone, and there are even quite a few hunters who are also birdwatchers. You're not really going to find any birders who think this is a bad thing. That's one of the big differences between the herping and birding communities. Birders have their little squabbles over taxonomy, playing tapes and sharing owl roosts, but there's no rift over collecting. We all agree that the hands-off legislation is a good thing, because whether or not it is helping bird populations at this moment, it may be able to prevent future calamities like those that have happened here not too long ago and are already happening elsewhere in the world, and it also goes hand-in-hand with maintaining the popular view of birds as an important and respected part of the environment that we have worked so hard to cultivate. We are then free to focus on the more pressing issues like habitat loss, pollution, global warming, etc. Despite what some posters here are suggesting, nobody's sitting around thinking the MBTA is protecting bird populations from being decimated. We're not idiots.

I don't think it's possible to apply all the lessons of bird conservation to herps, or vice versa. For one thing, birds are much harder to catch, keep, and breed than most herps. I can't really picture dozens of amateur bird breeders establishing a captive-bred population of Kirtland's Warblers or Bermuda Petrels. It's also much easier to enjoy birds hands-free than it is for many species of herps. Catching, collecting, and breeding should always be part of herping, for educational value alone. Birds are popular, and bird enthusiasts (both birders and hunters) are big players in driving the conservation movement. Herps are nowhere near that level right now. The popular perception of herps now is about where the popular perception of birds was 150 years ago, or more.

I think it's entirely possible to have some sort of general consensus that total hands-off, blanket protection of herps, right now, is a bad idea. That's a fairly reasonable argument to make. We all, at the very least, have to get our hands dirty to enjoy our hobby, and there are very few of us who don't handle or manipulate herps regularly. From there, we can argue over what species to protect, whether or not to have bag limits, what they should be, rules for breeding and selling, etc. I think that trying to make your broad argument that protection is a flawed concept in general detracts from your very good argument that states using blanket protection of herps as a conservation tool is a bad idea.


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 9:12 am 
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Blanket protection of herps IS a bad idea. There needs to be common sense applied to different species. Common abundant species are common and abundant. They need no bag limits for recreational take. Species with limited range or declining populations need to be limited in take or protected, and the threats to their survival addressed and removed. Period. If we continue to add species to a list of hands off animals all we will accomplish is a future generation with no concern for wild herps at all. You have to interact with the animals to appreciate where they come from. The deli-cupper crowd has no clue as to what is in the wild or how many of them there are or what threats face them. Their idea of a snake is a ball python, and they don't even know where those come from. Is that the future you want? Ball pythons and clueless people who give in to development because they haven't got any idea of what needs to be preserved?


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 11:29 am 
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Blanket protection is a *very* bad idea. Let's take the Australian example since it has come nearly full circle. Up through the 1960s there were few or no controls on collecting keeping or export. For various reasons both the federal government and the states/territories imposed a near-total clampdown on their citizens handling or keeping native fauna (it was still OK to kill herps on sight). This got really ridiculous through the 80s-90s -- you'd see photo articles about how little Bluey and Bronwyn had found some taddies in a ditch and brought them to school, followed a couple of days later about how they and their whole families had been jailed for life.

This turned some kids who were fascinated with herps into biochemists and the rest into criminals. Since there was no hope of keeping a gecko legally, you went underground. Once you and your mates were at risk, wtf, let's get some really good stuff -- smuggle in some Gaboon vipers, say. This lead to total disrespect for wildlife laws, prevented the recruitment of bright kids into graduate programs, and basically left Australia ignorant of its own herpetofauna. It also set up the wildlife authorities to tie in with drug smugglers who needed something valuable to ship out as backloads.

This rotten situation began to slowly improve, and now it is possible to legally keep at least some native herps. There is a thriving amateur herper community, and a certain degree of useful feedback to wildlife agencies.

I have never heard anyone, Australian or other, amateur or professional, have anything but profanely negative comments to make about their black years under total prohibition. I am also unaware of any good that it did, while the social harm was significant, crippling two generations of would-be herpers by making them criminals because of their interests.


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 1:24 pm 
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What are some of the ways herpers give in to development, and what are actions and choices herpers can take to not give in to development? If this has been brought up and discussed already could it be reiterated for clarity and worthwhile emphasis


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 2:01 pm 
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cbernz wrote:
... So what would the other options be besides blanket protection? Trying to determine bag limits and seasons for each of the 900 or so non-game species in the country? That's a monumental waste of resources.

That's also not by any means the only alternative. Establishing a license requirement and initial bag limits based merely on best guesses - heck, make them incredibly conservative best guesses, at that - requires fairly little resource investment and generates an immediate resource return. When hunting license sales are followed up with hunter surveys asking what was pursued and with what success, valuable information on species' supply and demand can also be amassed pretty quickly at quite low cost and used to tweak future bag limits - and to begin more meaningfully managing species that appear to merit it. Where there seems the potential for commercial harvest to become an issue, greater restrictions can specifically target it. None of these are new ideas, nor are any of them even lacking a track record in the real world. They work.

And not just for herps. There's no reason the same kind of management couldn't be implemented for non-game bird species. Blanket protection wasn't necessary to prevent these birds from being extirpated/driven extinct by market hunting (pretty much the only form of bird harvest that ever amounted to anything in North America), restriction/prohibition of commercial harvest alone would have done just as well. And then you wouldn't have to worry about breaking the law just because you wanted to add a splash of color to your wardrobe by decorating your hat band with a goldfinch feather you found in your backyard. :roll:

Kelly Mc wrote:
What are some of the ways herpers give in to development, and what are actions and choices herpers can take to not give in to development? If this has been brought up and discussed already could it be reiterated for clarity and worthwhile emphasis

Kelly, that's a question very worthy of discussion - and much more worthy of frequent repetition than many of these other topics ;) - but I think it deserves its own thread.

Gerry


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 2:44 pm 
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Brian, I agree completely with your last post.

Sam, the Australian experience sounds terrible. It's a good idea to learn to avoid what other people do wrong, but it's also good to learn from what others do right. I would hope that we don't get so caught up in what can go wrong with regulation that we ignore or deny the positive things about regulation.

Gerry, I still don't think the bird issue is that relevant to a discussion of herping regulations. Perhaps this might warrant a discussion on the bird forum.


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 4:25 pm 
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Kelly: I was referring to future apathy in general concerning herps due to too many regs. and when you have apathy, you do not have activism, and when you do not have activists the greedy, money grubbing developers develop everything in sight so they can live at Pebble Beach or Malibu. Most rich people think nature is a golf course, and going green is getting to the hole.


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 4:57 pm 
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At the risk of sounding overly pessimistic (and I'm an incurable pessimist) the battle between conservationists and developers will ultimately be won by developers, unless some cataclysmic event drastically reduces the human population (supervirus a likely candidate?) or people magically quit producing more people. It's simple physics, really......general population projections say that the world population will more than double by 2150. As someone mentioned earlier, in a one or two hundred years you'll be able to count the remaining "wild" areas on your fingers.


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 5:21 pm 
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cbernz first wrote:
There was an article in National Geographic not long ago about the plight of migratory birds in Europe...

cbernz then wrote:
Gerry, I still don't think the bird issue is that relevant to a discussion of herping regulations. Perhaps this might warrant a discussion on the bird forum.

:?: :?: :?:

I'd say that the blanket protection historically given non-game birds, and specifically whether it was really necessary for and effective in the birds' conservation compared with other kinds of management that might have been/be used, is extremely relevant to a discussion of whether blanket protection should be given to herps or whatever else. (And that being said, I haven't invested nearly so much type in discussing birds here as have, say,... you. ;) )

Mark, I think you're just being realistic. I actually see "let's save as much as we can for as long as we can, for the day that the human population crashes" as being about as reasonable a strategy as one could have in this incredibly bad and intractable situation.

Gerry


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 6:18 pm 
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Kelly Mc wrote:
What are some of the ways herpers give in to development, and what are actions and choices herpers can take to not give in to development? If this has been brought up and discussed already could it be reiterated for clarity and worthwhile emphasis


We give in by consuming all the same crap that everyone else does who drive all this development.

Americans use up something like 8 hectares of space per person to support their lifestyle. If the whole world did that, we'd need 4 earths to support us and there still wouldn't be any room left over for most ecosystems. And that's partly from the big houses we like, but even more from our high level of goods consumption - energy, metals, agricultural land (especially beef and other meat, which is taking up a huge % of the Earth's arable surface area right now), landfill space, etc.

Live simpler, use less resources, actually think about what you purchase instead of buying more and more and more of the latest thing. Too many of us lament the development that "other people" are driving, without making hard choices about our own. But if some of us started telling everyone else to live in a smaller place, buy fewer or no cars, stop getting all the newest gadgets, etc; we'd soon be really, really unpopular.


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 6:47 pm 
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Gerry, I didn't mean to be dismissive of what you wrote - my bad. It's just that I can tell we aren't going to debate this to any kind of satisfactory conclusion without boring people to tears with a bunch of stuff that isn't directly related to herps. For the record, I wasn't the one who brought up the MBTA, but I should have kept my mouth shut.


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 8:03 pm 
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Jonathan: I kinda like the beef industry. Cattle ranches tie up a lot of habitat and they build ponds that benefit amphibians, snakes, and turtles. I would rather see 100,000 acre ranch than 100,000 acres of houses any day...next time you see a rancher, thank him for preserving habitat for herps. We kinda need farms too, but not grape vineyards (how many of you drink wine?). Stop drinking wine...call them what they are...the grapes of wrath. I hate grape vineyards. Oh, and you can add solar panel farms to the list of crap that destroys habitat too.

http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/offshore-megacity-the-great-pyramid-of-tokyo

Japanese designers are now planning an offshore magacity that could house close to a million people. The design is a giant pyramid in which up to 24 80-story buildings could be suspended from the roof. People could zoom between the buildings in a network of tubes.


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 8:36 pm 
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Brian Hubbs wrote:
Jonathan: I kinda like the beef industry. Cattle ranches tie up a lot of habitat and they build ponds that benefit amphibians, snakes, and turtles. I would rather see 100,000 acre ranch than 100,000 acres of houses any day...


If you think that kind of cattle ranch is the main impact of the beef industry, then you haven't seen enough of the world. First off, while some ranchers are lucky enough to use land in its natural state, a great deal of them clear the land first, resulting in a ridiculous amount of habitat loss (especially in places like South America, where forest land isn't ideal for cattle ranching). And in North America, a huge amount of the land use by the beef industry isn't even the space the cattle themselves roam on, but the enormous amount of agricultural and water resources that need to be maintained to support those cattle. A very large proportion of the world's plant output, both agricultural and natural, is grown solely to feed the animals that we eat (with horrible efficiency in the process). And a 1,000 pound steer takes something like 1,200,000 liters of fresh water to get it to that size.

You also have the problem where poor farmers are getting forced off their land by rich cattle ranchers. You get places like Guatemala, where something like 50% of children are malnourished and yet the wealthy are shipping beef OUT of the country, because the wealthy would rather sell to Americans than feed their own people, the money they get from us gives them the power to initiate massive land grabs, and we would rather have our beef than care whether their people have enough food.


I've written about this before on my blog, including the story of a friend of friends of mine who was killed by these people:

http://totrustingod.blogspot.in/2013/03/brazil.html
http://totrustingod.blogspot.in/2013/03/guatemala.html


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2013, 8:51 pm 
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We should outlaw non-American beef...


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PostPosted: December 1st, 2013, 10:07 pm 

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The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, similar to many legislative acts and regulations, has some positive as well as negative outcomes. The early protection of the Whooping Crane and Trumpeter Swan may be examples of the former.

But if one critically examines the issue whereby legislation / regulations only involve a blanket protection of species, it should be abundantly clear that legislation, such as the
MBTA, actually has failed to protect most species. One only needs to review the number of listed species that have received the most notoriety to understand that point. Think of the California Condor, Brown Pelican, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Marbled Murrelet, and Northern Spotted Owl.

But there are many, many more species of small birds that have been, or are now being considered as candidates for listing. For instance, at the October Audubon Society of Corvallis monthly meeting, Joel Geier's presentation mentioned a few of the species here in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon whose populations have been greatly reduced over the years. The species I recall Joel mentioned are the Western Meadowlark, Lewis's Woodpecker, Streaked Horned Lark, Vesper Sparrow, Common Nighthawk, Chipping Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, and Slender-billed Nuthatch. None of these species have been harvested for food, for plumes, or for pets.

My mentioning of the MBTA was meant to demonstrate how a policy of placing species in a 'protected' status is largely symbolic and does not prevent species from declining to the point of being at risk. In that way, I was trying to draw a parallel to the same type of regulations state wildlife agencies enact placing species of herps in a 'protected', hands-off status.

Richard F. Hoyer


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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2013, 8:52 am 
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I have gained so much information from reading what you have shared with us, about the blind spots inherent to blanket protection.

But to be very topically accurate without symbolism - capturing birds cannot be compared to herps.

No vertebrates are so easily caught, stored and transported without resources for as long as herps. Some more than others, but as a regular practice in pillowcases and containers. Birds would have high mortality in deli cups.

The ease of herp capture I mention as factor potentially inviting over collection, not as a point of contention to the topic of over regulation.


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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2013, 9:42 am 

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Tom Lott wrote:
Richard's excellent essay "The Fallacy of Perceptions" was published in the Journal of Kansas Herpetology, Number 21 (March 2007). A PDF of that issue may be obtained HERE.


Thank you for the link.


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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2013, 10:00 am 

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From the State of Calif. F & G Commission final statement of reasons for regulator action is the following statement: "The Department currently has no information about amount or effects of sport take for these animals, so it is therefore prudent to remove species of concern from collection."

This is an example of how the CDFW used the 'precautionary principle' as a form of justification. With respect to the Nov. 28th. post by Mark Brown, below is my critique of the so-called 'Precautionary Principle' I posted on the Arizona PARC forum.

Richard F. Hoyer
=====================================================

The underlying basis for the positions I have taken in recent threads have everything to do with credibility, integrity, professional conduct, and basic honesty as those values pertain to state wildlife agencies and their management of non-game wildlife. In this thread, I provide my thoughts on the so-called 'Precautionary Principle' (PP) and these same basic values are at the core of my remarks.

Background: My position has always been that science-based processes should be used to assess and manage wildlife resources. After all, isn't that the reason behind university programs in Wildlife Science so that graduate biologists will employ professional methods?

In mid 1997, I was visiting an acquaintance that had recently retired as a regional fisheries supervisor for the Calif. Dept. of F & G. We were discussing my proposed study of the Sharp-tailed Snake (Contia tenuis), a species that had never been studied in Oregon. With a complete void of factual evidence, in 1971 the ODFW placed the species in a 'Protected' status based solely on anecdotal opinion. Since no evidence existed to indicate Contia was having problems, from a biological and ethical
perspective, I expressed my view that the species should not have been listed in the first place. My friend disagreed and mentioned something close to the following: "Since so little is known about the species, it is best to take a conservative approach and err on the side of caution'. That was my initial introduction to the 'Precautionary Principle'.

In recent years when I have questioned the legitimacy of a listed species, individuals have repeated the same or very similar phraseology as a justification. It sounds so reasonable that one is inclined to accept the notion at face value. But something bothered me at the time and I began to seek answers. The following is what I have learned along with some analysis.

1) By it very name, the word 'principle' lends a measure of authenticity and legitimacy. The impression I have gotten when someone cites the PP is that they believe they are citing a basic principle of biology. Thus, the use of the word 'principle' misleads individuals into believing a basic biological principles is involved.

2) Instead of a basic principle, the PP is simply a point of view, conjecture, supposition, personal opinion, a concept, or philosophical position and thus is not factual but speculative in nature. True biological principles have support from a broad base of existing evidence. The PP lacks support from any factual evidence. Employed in a biological context (as if it were some basic principle), it is quite deceptive for those that are not aware that the PP is simply a concept or personal point of view.

3) The application of the PP concept primarily occurs in specific situations.
A) With rare exception, application of the PP is not used in connection with commercial species, fur bearers, or game species. It is almost exclusively applied to non-games species.

B) Even though little is known about the basic biology of 99.99% of all species, it is not applied across the board. The PP is applied 1) where some 'official' concerns are expressed for a species (being considered for listing) but where supporting evidence is lacking and 2) as a defensive ploy anytime questions of legitimacy arise about a listed species for which supporting evidence is lacking (as when I questioned the Contia listing in Oregon).

Thus, applying the PP is a convenient way of sidestepping the issue any time there is a void in factual evidence. As such, the PP could be selectively applied to nearly all species on this earth. Just pick a species, express a grave concern for its overall status, then cite the PP as a justification for listing the species. In this manner, there is no need to produce any evidence in support of your position.

4) Application of the PP does not truly mean 'proceed with caution' but entails a total prohibition of any use of a wildlife resource.

5) There are two inherent conflicts or contradictions between the underlying assumptions of the PP and basic tenets of wildlife science and population biology.
A) With mentioning 'the need to err on the side of caution' (coupled with a complete hands-off stance), implied is that the health of species are suspect (populations are 'sick'). In contrast, the basic tenets of wildlife science and population biology indicate the opposite situation. Populations are deemed to occur at normal densities in occupied habitat (are 'healthy'). This is due to the principle of population biology previously mentioned that species over produce their kind during reproduction.

B) The second contradiction occurs as follows: Because population biology indicates species exist at normal densities, factual evidence is needed to demonstrate otherwise. In contrast, application of the PP concept bypasses or ignores the need for factual evidence to determine if a species' health is suspect. By invoking the PP, one can simply declare that a species is suspect and should be place in a protected status.

It should be noted there is no evidence that supports the PP concept but an enormous amount of evidence exists in support of the basic tenets of population biology--that species exist at normal densities in suitable habitat. It seems not to bother advocates of the PP that in many cases, the listing of species was done without any factual evidence. Yet the irony is that proponents of the PP then mention that scientific evidence is required in order to have a species removed from a 'Protected' status.

Do you think agency wildlife biologists would recommend de-listing species based solely on anecdotal opinion without supporting evidence? Yet, with a complete void of factual evidence, wildlife agencies have listed species in a 'Protected' status base solely on anecdotal opinion. I was hoping that Arizona was different. But I see that is not the case with the recent listing of the Box Turtle where no meaningful evidence was presented that would remotely indicate the species was experiencing problems in that state.

6) It is my view that most non-game species listed in some category of concern were done so based mostly or entirely on anecdotal type information lacking factual support. When a person invokes the PP for such listed species, they are employing an unscientific concept to justify a species listed by unscientific processes. In my opinion, this amounts to one form of junk science justifying the use of another form of junk science.

7) Last, I looked into the origin of the PP. I found that a number of individuals had proposed it's application but that it was primarily aimed at technological advances. One source on its origin mentions that the PP became popular with G. Tyler Miller, an Environmental Scientist and economist. In one of Miller's books, 'Environmental Science, ninth edition' is the following definition: "The precautionary principle: When there is much evidence that an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, we should take precautionary measures to prevent or reduce harm even if some of the cause-and-effect are not fully established scientifically." Please note where it mentions "WHEN THERE IS MUCH EVIDENCE".

As mentioned at the beginning, my concern involve basic values of integrity, credibility, professionalism, and honesty. After examining the current manner in which wildlife agencies assess and list non-game species, in the past 8 years I have progressed from merely being skeptical to being cynical. I no longer accept listed species at face value and need to be shown the factual basis that support such listings. No longer am I gullible enough to accept a biologist's (or academic's) explanation that a listing was 'based on the best science available' or 'based on the best available information'. Invariably, I have found that no science was involved and the best information amounted to anecdotal opinion without support from meaningful evidence.

With many species having been listed without acceptable evidence, I find it hard to reconcile how any individual that critically examines this issue can have confidence in the credibility in state wildlife agency's lists of 'Protected Species'. How does this situation reflect on the integrity of a state wildlife agency, particularly their non-game programs? Does anyone believe that such methods are professional and are taught at university Depts. of Wildlife Science? And what does it tell you about basic honesty. In official lists of protected species, state wildlife agencies are informing everyone that these species are in need of protection. Yet agency biologists are unable to produce any valid evidence in support of such listings. (Nor are they able to explain in rational terms how a protected status truly 'protects' such species.) The situation in Oregon is a typical example in which not a smidgen of data exists in support of the 4 species of snakes listed in the 'Protected' category.

As with my prior threads, I hope that I have planted some seeds for thought.

I will close with mentioning that as an independent biologist, I am not accountable to any entities be they public or private. I am a long time conservationist having contributed financial support yearly for decades to a number of conservation organizations with my favorite being Nature Conservancy. Clearly there are some species in dire straits and others where populations have been compromised. But with the current situation in which there are an incredible number of bogus listings, it is my view that the entire conservation movement has been compromised.

The questions of why and how this has all come about I will leave for others to ponder.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon 1/26/05)


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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2013, 12:58 pm 
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Habitat inaccessibility and fossorial habits promoting an illusion of rarity has been addressed and understood.
But where herps Are accessible, and When they are found, I can think of no other animal group that lend themselves so readily to in hand capture and volume containment.
Could this factor that has been unaddressed, even by individuals that regularly encounter herpetofauna, be active in the criteria of PP advocates and regulatory entities?


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: December 2nd, 2013, 8:17 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
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Location: "Buy My Books"-land
Kelly, what you are implying is vulnerability to commercial collection (volume). Commercial Collection (hereafter referred to as CC because I don't want to keep typing those words) is illegal in CA and should be, except for certain situations where habitat will be destroyed. Volume collection would only apply to CC or the occasional idiot who doesn't know any better, and I'm sure the occasional idiot still collects too many of certain things despite the law. Even the coveted mountain kingsnake is still CC'd every year by a few law breakers, but the population does not suffer due to the extensive habitat and range of that species. Those occasional actions do not seem to be affecting the overall populations of anything, and even the local populations that might be affected bounce back in a few years from over-reproduction. I have seen this happen at a creek that used to be a popular place to catch turtles and garter snakes. 36 years of non-CC has allowed those animals to bounce back to full volume today. But, to answer your question, yes, I think the F&G depts think this is still a problem and it plays into their mind sets.


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: December 2nd, 2013, 10:40 pm 
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Ok Mr Hubbs. Thank you for more clarity.

I think most if not all problems come down to not having enough information. I joined this forum to learn more, and become a better rounded herper. I represent a sample member in a diverse and eclectic interest group of people.

Because of this thread, and the information and education provided by Mr Hoyer, Dr Gerry, Sam Sweet and yourself it is possible that a seismic shift of opinion about collection has/is taking place, in a group where, here at least, I detected a significant anti collection sentiment.

My questions came from a place of concern about collection vulnerabilities inherent to herps that were a stone that needed turning, and you turned it. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: December 3rd, 2013, 6:10 am 
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"Sentiment" is the word, all right. You nailed it, Kelly!

From the American Heritage Dictionary ( http://education.yahoo.com/reference/di ... /sentiment ):

      Sentiment - A thought, view, or attitude, especially one based mainly on emotion instead of reason

I'm sure that Richard, Sam and virtually everyone else at FHF is as glad as I am that here we have a group of people with a strong emotional connection to herps. Would that more people had such feeling for them! Passion is a great motivator, but unfortunately, when uncoupled from reason it is as likely to lead people in a wrong direction as a right one, and worse still it appears to foster in them resistance to education.

I do believe that from the standpoint of the politician or wildlife program administrator (at least the latter of whom should certainly have some understanding of what truly does and doesn't contribute to wildlife/wild lands conservation, or s/he shouldn't have taken the job in the first place), they're far more interested in public perception than effectiveness. Establishing blanket protection for something allows them to do little or nothing but enjoy credit for doing something substantial, and it doesn't really matter to them that the credit is undeserved and the task remains undone.

This option is so readily available to them because of public sentiment. There has long been a "live and let live" movement in this country and with it a growing tendency to negatively view activities such as animal keeping and hunting, and there are even a number of organizations out there with the prohibition of these activities as a declared goal. Because of all this feeling for the individual animal, many people start out thinking and these days we're pretty much all encouraged to think that the best thing we can do for wildlife in general is simply keep our hands off and - voilà! - everything will be all right.

The exasperating problem is that in folks' concern about what's best for individual animals - and I certainly agree that how we should treat individual animals is a debate every bit as worth having as anything else here (though it, too, has been covered ad nauseam) - they lose sight of the fact that it's not necessarily the same thing as what's best for animal populations. They erroneously conflate animal rights, animal welfare and wildlife conservation to the latter's detriment.

I prize passion for its potential, but take a pretty dim view of sentiment as passion led astray.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: December 4th, 2013, 10:27 am 
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Just to let you know, Gerry, and also Richard, Jimi, Sam, Brian, Kris, and many others, that I do have passion for this hobby, which I've maintained for over 60 yrs, and have read all the posts over the last three days. In honor of my father, recently passed, who taught me photography and love of nature, I consider myself a hobbyist, collector, naturalist, field biologist, tree hugger, educator, and conservationist of sorts. None of this would have happened had my family or many others discouraged me from pursuing my dreams. I might add that everyone posting deserves respect for themselves and their opinions, which is sometimes hard to do when you have your own convictions in opposition. But what serves all of us best is to consider all sides of issues, especially ones as important as the ones presented here.

I don't mean to diverge from Richard's concepts, which I heartily agree with, and purpose which I greatly respect, but so much has been brought up in this strand which needs to be addressed. I just hope to make a few key points which I hope will continue being discussed at later dates.

I agree that most herps don't need blanket protection. There are many here in AZ that I would have taken off the protected list. I've also had the opportunity to work with the AZG&F, in arguing against putting certain herps on the protected list, including green ratsnakes, vine snakes, and desert box turtles. Unfortunately, box turtles are now protected from any collection w/o permit. I sympathize with CA for their situation. That said, I also agree that there are situations where herps do need protection from collection. I firmly believe that habitat needs protecting more than individual herps, but that is very difficult to do, no matter who's trying to do it, including wildlife and natural resources departments. Much of the habitat for some "sensitive" species is on private land. Something TNC addresses. I can sympathize with some of the folks who have a "hands off" approach. I was like that once a long time ago.

There's the concept of NAFHA and it's goals. I agree with Jimi in that this organization has some opportunities. Are we going to be JUST a data collecting organization, or are we going to try to make a difference in other ways? Let's brainstorm guys. I say we need to work with wildlife management organizations to attain similar goals, that of protecting and maintaining herps and their habitat, and highly commend those professional biologists who take the time to discuss these matters with us. I believe our data helps make a difference and is the main reason I'm a NAFHA member. I especially like how our data helps define ranges and abundance of herp species and how it helps AZG&F do its job. How else can we help state agencies do their jobs well? At any rate let's try to help.

There's the concept of herp collections and museum collections. Some of us not only take voucher photos for the herp database, but also add photos and actual specimens to other collections, such as the Univ. of Arizona herp collection. I've done road kills in alcohol for a number of years (unusual specimens) and collected tissue samples in hopes that someday someone or some group would be able to use the samples for dna testing, or whatever. Of course this isn't likely to happen with protected species, unless one can obtain permits.

Another thing that herpers do is look for new and interesting habitat and help maintain existing habitat by sharing info with game agencies. We are eyes and ears, so to speak, and can continue to be that. Maybe we can even learn how to help keep existing habitat in prime condition in the future. Just a dream of mine. We at least have a voice. We also find range extensions, etc. One of Richard's points is that a "hands off" approach takes many of these opportunities away from us. This is one reason I agree with him.

There are many more good points in this strand, but this is all I can concentrate on for now. Have to run. Thanks to all for their input, and my apologies to Richard if I ventured too far from the expected response. Great to hear from you again.

Holiday best to all,

Terry Cox/Green Valley, AZ


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 Post subject: Re: Protection--a flawed policy
PostPosted: December 4th, 2013, 3:47 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:30 pm
Posts: 410
Location: St Louis, MO / Hartford, CT
Perhaps as the number of field herpers grows (assuming it is growing, my guess is that we are in a growth mode even if it's not growing by leaps and bounds) the data will become available to show which populations are well connected and where collection shouldn't be much of in issue. I would assume small, disconnected populations and those slow to mature should receive precautionary protection, while everything else should not. It doesn't seem that difficult of a thing to calculate, especially given that many states have motivated, free labor available. Would certifying some field herps to gather genetic material make sense?


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