The longest running Amphibian Community on the Internet.

Tags Register FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Caudata.org Store


Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

This is a discussion on Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think? within the Conservation and Habitat Management forums, part of the Herpetological Science & Politics category; Hi, Frank Indiviglio here. Iím a herpetologist, zoologist and book author, recently retired from a career spent at several zoos, ...

Conservation and Habitat Management For discussion of the creation and maintenance of wild habitats for caudates and other amphibians, and on amphibian conservation issues.

Like Tree35Likes


Reply

 

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 29th January 2014   #1 (permalink)
Herpetologist & Author
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Nationality:
Posts: 400
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: findi has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)findi has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)findi has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)findi has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)findi has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)findi has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)findi has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)findi has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)findi has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)findi has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)findi has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)
Default Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

Hi, Frank Indiviglio here. Iím a herpetologist, zoologist and book author, recently retired from a career spent at several zoos, aquarium, and museums, including over 20 years with the Bronx Zoo.
While over-collection and poorly-prepared pet keepers have certainly led to declines in wild populations of some species, private hobbyists have also contributed immensely to the conservation of amphibians, invertebrates and reptiles (as well as fishes, birds and mammals). This is especially true of those animals which zoos lack the interest or space to maintainÖoften the very creatures most favored by private keepers. Read the rest of this article here Reptile Hobbyists - Helping or Hindering Reptile and Amphibian Conservation?
Please also check out my posts on Twitter http://bitly.com/JP27Nj and Facebook http://on.fb.me/KckP1m

My Bio, with photos of animals Iíve been lucky enough to work with: That Pet Place welcomes Zoologist/Herpetologist Frank Indiviglio to That Reptile Blog | That Reptile Blog

Best Regards, Frank Indiviglio



findi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th January 2014   #2 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 56
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Ominojacu has given good advice and informationOminojacu has given good advice and information
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

The real question here is what good are captive populations to conservation? There is no doubt that private hobbiest contribute significantly to the captive populations, however I would debate that captive populations do little for conservation efforts. My argument is this. Once removed from the wild a species is removed from the selective pressures of their respective niches and can no longer be considered natural animals.
Natural Selection regulates and defines a species, captive specimens represent potentially ill fitted individuals for living in the wild, and represent a real danger to wild populations if reintroduced. The scenario goes like this, a group of captive bred corn snakes are introduce to back into the wild, They interfere with the local snakes by stealing mates. Being ill suited they die, and their offspring as well. Not only have they failed but they have reduced the native population exponentially. One could argue that if corn snakes became extinct that reintroduction efforts over time would be successful, and yes one can imagine that of groups of ill suited specimens a small percentage would be able survive and natural selection would steer them back to genetic fitness over time. However the problem is that with cryptic reptiles and amphibians you can never be sure that the natural population doesn't still exist in some small band of hold outs. So the strategy of reintroduction is almost never favorable. Real conservation efforts are about conserving native environments and keeping them free of pollution and over collecting, any thing else falls short. That said, I will still rather have captive prehensile tailed skinks than none at all.



Ominojacu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th February 2014   #3 (permalink)
JAK
Junior Member
 
JAK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 29
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: JAK has started on the right path
Default

Undoubtedly the actions of some hobbyists, and more extensively the actions of the unscrupulous who provide wild caught specimens for the pet trade, hinder conservation efforts sometimes to an extreme degree. I do however contend that the efforts of conscientious hobbyists contribute notably to conservation efforts. Individuals enthusiastically caring for the herps they love are likely more apt to become involved with organized conservation efforts. In my mind it is really only a question of if the market provided by hobbyists, the incentive for profit provided, and the detrimental actions of those who collect animals from the wild outside of organized conservation efforts, is more damaging than the positive contributions of hobbyists.

If we consider the variety and variability of the life cycles exhibited by herps it is not impossible for a hobbyist to uncover hitherto unknown information concerning an amphibians phisiology, thereby informing on optimum methods of conservation. I don't want to dismiss the question as silly, but it seems foolish to contend that one must not keep pets, or one must be a professional in order to contribute to conservation efforts. Hobbyists and amateurs have a history of uncovering information of value that has been overlooked or dismissed as mundane by professionals, one need only look to other fields for more well known examples (the work of Leeuwenhoek comes to mind). The problem becomes contentious when the more extreme (and more vocal) conservation groups attempt to raise awareness by attacking the negative aspects of the
hobby without bothering to mention the positive contributions made. Consider groups like PETA or the Earth Liberation Front, radical all-or-nothing approaches that discourage mainstream cooperation.

Lastly, I do think that more could be done to mitigate the damage the hobby causes, and hobbyists and conservation groups could do more to work together for the mutual benefit of herps at a local and global level. It would also be of great value to all if some manner of rulebook or manual would be produced by professional conservation groups which could serve as a guide to individual conservation efforts so that a hobbyist might act alone (or organize a program) when a local conservation group can not be found.



JAK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th February 2014   #4 (permalink)
JAK
Junior Member
 
JAK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 29
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: JAK has started on the right path
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

I don't generally see the value of captive populations to conservation except in cases where reintroduction of displaced species becomes possible, after rehabilitation of their home range of course. To me the question is whether the conservation of herps is hindered by the market created by hobbyists to a degree which subsumes the benefits provided by hobbyists. It's undeniable that going back to Linnaeus (and before) herpetology was a less popular pursuit to the point where the volume of knowledge concerning them is less extensive (to this day) than it is for the so called higher animals. Because of the less prolific study seen in herpetology as a whole it is eminently possible for the hobbyist to contribute to our understanding of the various species. It's a simple matter to see how better understanding could contribute to improved conservation efforts, so one might argue that hobbyists contribute to conservation in that way.

Additionally, it is worth noting that hobbyists contribute to organized conservation efforts at a local level by providing feet on the ground for labor intensive conservation and educational projects. Outreach and symbolic conservation efforts such as bucket migration over roadways, or presentations at school or scouting events make up an important part of conservation simply by raising awareness. For example local news occasionally covers such matting assistance efforts as the aforementioned bucket programs simply because it is so novel to the public at large. Radical conservation groups might argue that the keeping of pets which is nearly (or explicitly even) universal among hobbyists is detrimental to conservation, but it is more immediately the incentive that motivates many people to become involved in conservation efforts.

For my own part it is my desire to keep newts as a pet that sparked my renewed interest in conservation. With several local bogs and wetlands there are programs locally to which I can contribute. Without my interest in the hobby I would not likely pursue targeted or general conservation efforts; it is the deeper knowledge provided by the hobby that inspires people to assist in conservation efforts. If we, as a community, promote efforts to prevent or outlaw wild collection it will offset the primary negative impact of the hobby and that alone would be a massive contribution of hobbyists to conservation.



JAK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st February 2014   #5 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 56
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Ominojacu has given good advice and informationOminojacu has given good advice and information
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

I agree, that hobbyist do contribute to the knowledge base and also to the support of conservation, and certainly the market has a negative impact as well. I recently engaged in a debate here on what is a positive way to contribute to the market and was met with resistance. I feel that breeding wild types, and locality specific only contributes to the wild caught market. If a particular locale becomes popular there will always be people who will go for the wild caught which are cheaper. Breeding color variants like albinos and such that are not readily available in the wild competes with wild collected animals and is in my opinion the most responsible thing a hobbyist can do to support conservation short of supporting environmental protection.



Ominojacu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th February 2014   #6 (permalink)
JAK
Junior Member
 
JAK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 29
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: JAK has started on the right path
Default

Good points but I wonder what can be done to stop the major negative impact the hobby has on conservation, specifically the creation of a market for wild caught specimens. It seems relevant that the hobby created the market and is undoubtedly stocked by people active in the hobby. If educational programs can actively discourage the supply and demand for wild caught specimens we should pursue them. It seems unlikely unique colorations are enough to change market conditions alone.

Until the profit to be made from wild caught specimens and the value they hold for hobbyists can be eliminated we will, like it or not, put the very creatures we value at risk. If the affection we have for our caudates is not enough to inspire us to act to offset the damage we unwillingly cause then we are no better than the developers draining wetlands and putting in strip malls. Breeders are invaluable in the quest to eliminate wild capture but one must be aware that those who profit from the wild trade are going to resist any attack on their business. This is not to say that those supporting the wild trade do not support conservation in theory, or are bad people, only that there is a lack of alternatives for many.

Posted from the newt-phone!



JAK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th March 2014   #7 (permalink)
Member
 
Cole Grover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 37
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Cole Grover has given good advice and informationCole Grover has given good advice and informationCole Grover has given good advice and information
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ominojacu View Post
I agree, that hobbyist do contribute to the knowledge base and also to the support of conservation, and certainly the market has a negative impact as well. I recently engaged in a debate here on what is a positive way to contribute to the market and was met with resistance. I feel that breeding wild types, and locality specific only contributes to the wild caught market. If a particular locale becomes popular there will always be people who will go for the wild caught which are cheaper. Breeding color variants like albinos and such that are not readily available in the wild competes with wild collected animals and is in my opinion the most responsible thing a hobbyist can do to support conservation short of supporting environmental protection.
So breeding breeding forms that do not occur naturally and presenting that as the only option to potential keepers is the correct route? Please, do explain how this could possibly be true. I suspect that this a a gut reaction that you haven't fully thought out. "People" (the public at large) only preserve what they're familiar with and what they care about. Many experienced reptile and amphibian keepers, including the vast majority on this site, are certainly not in your corner on this. Breeding morphs can have a terrible, lasting effect on wild populations. Look what the blown-out morph market has done to ball pythons in West Africa if you want a prime example...

I won't get too deep into this for a variety of reasons, and this will likely be my only post on the subject unless I can wrangle some free time later on. This has been hashed out over and over on various keeper forums over the years. In short, though, this is a MUCH more complicated situation than you're supposing it to be. Valuing the animals' natural history and wild forms is the core, and dare I say "purist", reason for keeping wild-type and locality-specific animals. Many advanced hobbyists (including some professional herpetologists, zoo-keepers, private breeders, ardent conservationists, etc.) from all sectors of herp-keeping are continuing to maintain locality-specific lines or are converting their captive collections into locality-specific ones. I known this because I'm in daily contact with these people. An Ambystoma tigrinum from New Jersey and one from northern Florida have very different natural histories, potentially including their breeding strategy, etc. That's cool. It's also fascinating and valuable information to have when trying to successfully keep and breed a "challenging" form (such as Ambystomatid salamanders). Look at what the keepers of dart frogs, tree frogs, Atelopus are doing if you're looking for a close-to-home example using amphibians only. Are there "bad" people who will over collect a locality because the animals are in demand? Of course, but that is where captive breeding can come into play and reduce the disproportionality of supply and demand, thereby driving the price, and subsequently the incentive for wild collection, down. Obviously, this isn't witout fault, either.

Do morphs have a place? Sure! They're especially popular with beginning and less-invested (in several ways) hobbyists, and possibly an essential tool for bringing certain demographics into the hobby and promoting herp conservation and awareness. However, to tout their value OVER the natural forms, which should be appreciated for their inherent beauty and value, is a bit misguided. There's a place for both, but breeding eye candy which people (correctly?) fail to associate with nature shouldn't take primacy. People have different values. I value nature, its processes, and products. If I'm going to keep something captive, it is becuase I want to observe its wild, natural attributes up-close and regularly. Other people might be seeking "living art" or something to impress their friends or a slippery, non-traditional companion animal.

Anyway, just some thoughts to consider.
-Cole



__________________
"There is grandeur in this view of life ... from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." Charles Darwin, 1859
Cole Grover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th June 2014   #8 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Nationality:
Posts: 19
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: CaNewtReps has shown reliable knowledge
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by findi View Post
Hi, Frank Indiviglio here. Iím a herpetologist, zoologist and book author, recently retired from a career spent at several zoos, aquarium, and museums, including over 20 years with the Bronx Zoo.
While over-collection and poorly-prepared pet keepers have certainly led to declines in wild populations of some species, private hobbyists have also contributed immensely to the conservation of amphibians, invertebrates and reptiles (as well as fishes, birds and mammals). This is especially true of those animals which zoos lack the interest or space to maintainÖoften the very creatures most favored by private keepers. Read the rest of this article here Reptile Hobbyists - Helping or Hindering Reptile and Amphibian Conservation?
Please also check out my posts on Twitter http://bitly.com/JP27Nj and Facebook http://on.fb.me/KckP1m

My Bio, with photos of animals Iíve been lucky enough to work with: That Pet Place welcomes Zoologist/Herpetologist Frank Indiviglio to That Reptile Blog | That Reptile Blog

Best Regards, Frank Indiviglio
Hi Frank,
I couldn't agree with you more. I have been troubled as of late because of reptile and amphibian hobby, but also the animal "hobby" in general over the last 10 years. I could rant on but I'm just going to type a few points.

A lot of people feel it is their right to own an exotic animal, that mentality has grown with the various animal hobbies. This has lead to mass neglect of captive animals, but the pushing forward of wanting newer, rarer, animals. I find the more I try and support the hobby, the more harm I am causing, and that is discouraging. It use to be a rare treat to see someone with poison frogs, big snakes, or even a chameleon. Now their presence is so common, the demand for newer and more are pushing the animals I love backwards from natural foundation.

If I would have known the direction the animal trade was going 10-15 years ago, I would have protested it every step of the way. I would gladly give up every animal I own if a bill was passed banning all exotic animals. I would give them up because I know in the bigger picture it will save so many species from mankind's misuse and abuse. I know it's unfair for those of us who know how to raise and breed our animals properly, but I've noticed only the prideful and selfish get touchy about losing their animals from a change in law. Even if it was passed to not solely benefit the animals, it still does in the long run.

I've discussed your topic quite a bit with many people of authority and most agree with you. It's a sad irony, but I believe it's a topic that people should be thinking seriously of.



CaNewtReps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2014   #9 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
xxianxx's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 2,476
Gallery Images: 4
Comments: 7
Rep: xxianxx is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgxxianxx is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgxxianxx is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgxxianxx is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgxxianxx is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgxxianxx is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgxxianxx is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgxxianxx is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgxxianxx is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgxxianxx is considered an Authority at Caudata.org
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

I have I.a.reiseri ( Bosnian alpine newts) they are extinct in the wild due to the destruction of their environment during the Bosnian war. If it was not for some hobbiests collecting them they would have been lost for ever.



__________________
Axolotls available, wild type, copper, golden albino. P.waltl, Golden mantella, E.tricolor, T.verrucosus, I.a.alpestris, B.variagata, A.andersoni available now. Pm for details.
xxianxx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd November 2014   #10 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 183
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: manderkeeper has started on the right path
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

I'm not aware of any proof that collection by or for hobbyist have led to declines in any species other than perhaps a handful restricted to islands and even then the connection is unclear. The reason hobbyist are picked on is because we're an easy target to say "well we did something to protect them" while turning a blind eye to the real problems of habitat destruction, fragmentation, and loss of quality.



manderkeeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th December 2014   #11 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 17
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: herpguy is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

There is absolutely no doubt that hobbies hinder conservation way more than they help. Captive population really do nothing to help wild populations.
For every person concerned with furthering captive breeding efforts, there are 1000 who do not care and want to buy the "new thing" that was "field collected".
Even captive breeding does not really help wild populations, except in the very rare cases in a Zoological setting where they are prepared for reintroduction (this happens very rarely and is even rarer to be successful).



herpguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2014   #12 (permalink)
Member
 
Cole Grover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 37
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Cole Grover has given good advice and informationCole Grover has given good advice and informationCole Grover has given good advice and information
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

Captive breeding can (and does) provide a sustainable source of animals for the pet trade, greatly reducing or eliminating the "need" to remove individuals from the wild. By purchasing captive bred specimens as a general rule, hobbyists can support captive breeding efforts and thereby discourage the collection of wild specimens. No?

Cole



__________________
"There is grandeur in this view of life ... from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." Charles Darwin, 1859
Cole Grover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2014   #13 (permalink)
Field Herper
 
sde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 18
Posts: 1,867
Gallery Images: 27
Comments: 12
Rep: sde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgsde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgsde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgsde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgsde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgsde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.org
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

I agree, and I would be surprised if captive breeding and distribution hasn't already reduced the amount of animals taken from the wild.



__________________
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" - Franklin D. Roosevelt
Genus kept; Ambystoma, Cynops/Hypeselotriton, Pleurodeles, Salamandra, Taricha, Tylototriton, Ensatina, Dicamptodon
sde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2014   #14 (permalink)
European Newt Group
 
jAfFa CaKe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 379
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 4
Rep: jAfFa CaKe has given good advice and informationjAfFa CaKe has given good advice and information
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

I could't agree more with Seth and Cole. It is impossible to find WC Axolotls anymore, because they are so readily available CB, and they are extremely rare. There are so many CB around, and people don't want WC so there is virtually no market for them. The only thing desirable about WC Axolotls would be that they are 100% pure Axolotl, whereas most Axolotls on the market today have some A. mavourtium/ tigrinum mixed in with them.



jAfFa CaKe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2014   #15 (permalink)
Site Contributor
 
Azhael's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 32
Posts: 6,645
Gallery Images: 19
Comments: 2
Rep: Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

That's just partially ameliorating a problem of its own creation, how is that a net benefit that the hobby has in terms of conservation? The hobby creates a problem that negatively affects conservation and then, maybe, after a lot of damage has been done, a captive population is stablished and the demand for wild animals goes down and the damage is reduced (but not eliminated)....oh wow, where do i collect my nobel prize for conservation efforts?
The hobby does very little for conservation....very, very little. With a handful of exceptions, all it can offer is the advancement of husbandry and reproductive knowledge and the inculcation of an apreciation of nature for people who are growing apart from it (which, granted, is invaluable). Other than that....nothing. On the other hand, it does cause a lot of trouble....A LOT....not just because of the commercial collection of animals to supply a hungry and blind market, but also by the spread of pathogens that are right now the biggest threat to amphibians world wide.
I'm obviously not against keeping animals in captivity....that's pretty obvious, but i will not defend the way this hobby, in general, is run. It's atrocious...the way animals are collected in massive numbers, shipped like cheap plastic toys, mistreated at shops, no quarantines, no healthcare, sold to anyone with money, bred obsesively for their appearance with no regards to health or sustainability of the captive population long term...This is not a hobby that treats animals as sentient, valuable living things, it's a hobby that consumes novelty at the expense of whatever gets in the way. Unfortunately that is what dominates and there is no sign of that stopping any time soon. Personally, i'm extremely glad to know people who do things differently, but they barely make a dent on the general hobbyist public.
So yes, the hobby hinders conservation because the benefits it produces do not even cover the damages it generates. Could it be worse? For sure....but it could also be way better, and it isn't, so let's hold the self-applause and the congratulatory cookies...



__________________
Please become acquainted with the forum rules.

Useful Links: Caudata Culture | Species Accounts | Care Articles | Newt and Salamander FAQs | Axolotl.org | Axolotl FAQs | Forum Functions.


Non Timetis Messor.

Last edited by Azhael; 29th December 2014 at 12:22.
Azhael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2014   #16 (permalink)
Site Contributor
 
Azhael's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 32
Posts: 6,645
Gallery Images: 19
Comments: 2
Rep: Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jAfFa CaKe View Post
I could't agree more with Seth and Cole. It is impossible to find WC Axolotls anymore, because they are so readily available CB, and they are extremely rare. There are so many CB around, and people don't want WC so there is virtually no market for them. The only thing desirable about WC Axolotls would be that they are 100% pure Axolotl, whereas most Axolotls on the market today have some A. mavourtium/ tigrinum mixed in with them.
That is simply not why there aren't any more WC axolotl collections. The actual, real reason is just that it's completely illegal and nobody is allowed to. If that weren't the case, i guarantee there would be imports....
The axolotl story is not one of victory, an epic tale of brave hobbyists that staved off the extinction of wild axolotls with their titanic efforts to breed domestic ones, shedding blood and tears....
That's pure fiction...The real story is pretty sad and is a prime demonstration of how the hobby at large is only concerned with satisfying its monstruous hunger for wanton novelty at all costs.



__________________
Please become acquainted with the forum rules.

Useful Links: Caudata Culture | Species Accounts | Care Articles | Newt and Salamander FAQs | Axolotl.org | Axolotl FAQs | Forum Functions.


Non Timetis Messor.
Azhael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2014   #17 (permalink)
Field Herper
 
sde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 18
Posts: 1,867
Gallery Images: 27
Comments: 12
Rep: sde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgsde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgsde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgsde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgsde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgsde is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.org
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

I definitely agree that they are treated like worthless, disposable, plastic toys, and I am too against that market, but that is already a established market, unfortunately. Buying CB animals, breeding them, and distributing them only helps discourage the common pet store amphibians though. So, we started something bad, and, quite frankly, it is going to take a long time, and a lot of effort, to stop the WC amphibian market. But, responsible hobbyists are only helping matters. It is the irresponsible ones who are making it worse. I kind of look at the amphibian hobby in two sections, those who know the consequences of buying WC animals, and those who don't or don't care. Its the second group that hurts the amphibians, not the first.

Basically, what I am trying to say is that, yes, the hobby as a whole probably does hinder conservation, but those who actually are responsible and distribute CB amphibians are, without a doubt, helping. But at this point the CB market is too small to do a lot to stop WC importations...but it is helping a bit, and that is a lot better than nothing.



__________________
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" - Franklin D. Roosevelt
Genus kept; Ambystoma, Cynops/Hypeselotriton, Pleurodeles, Salamandra, Taricha, Tylototriton, Ensatina, Dicamptodon
sde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2014   #18 (permalink)
Site Contributor
 
Azhael's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 32
Posts: 6,645
Gallery Images: 19
Comments: 2
Rep: Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)Azhael has maxed out Caudata.org's Reputation System (we are not worthy!)
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

It's not as clear cut as that Seth, it's not WC people bad, CB people good. Unfortunately, there are some serious problems with the CB contingent aswell. The main one is that we are inadvertedly distributing pathogens all over the place. They just keep popping up and we should expect new ones to be discovered. This is a problem made much worse and started by the WC market, sure, but the CB section of the hobby is participating in the distribution of these pathogens, from one collection to another, into wild populations. Considering the vast damage that these pathogens are causing, and the marginal benefits provided by captive breeding, we aren't winning there either.
Another serious issue is that yes, captive breeding is certainly preferable to the WC market, but not every kind of breeding has the same results. For the most part, the way captive breeding is conducted, it's terrible. We've already mentioned the way aesthetics based artificial selection dominates, but it's not just that, it's an almost complete lack of control over what is bred. The end result are completely unmanaged captive populations that are inestable or in decline which means that, as has already happened before, people go back to acquiring WC imports, which are healthier, defeating the most basic purpose of captive breeding, which is self-supplying.
The CB section of the hobby is definitely having a lesser impact on wild populations, but we are not having zero impact, and that's tragic, because that's the very least that we should be able to accomplish.
I know this paints a grim view of our hobby, but that's the reality of it and it's never going to improve if we keep patting ourselves in the back for how wonderful we are and how much good we are doing in the face of all the damage that our hobby does. The first step to make things better is to acknowledge all the things that are currently wrong and need fixing. We need to find a way to manage captive populations effectively in order to guarantee their continued well-being and existence so that we are never again dependent on mass importations and most importantly, we need to find a way to control and prevent the spread of pathogens that works for every kind of hobbyist. The latter is perhaps the most inmediate, challenging and important thing we should be foccusing on.



__________________
Please become acquainted with the forum rules.

Useful Links: Caudata Culture | Species Accounts | Care Articles | Newt and Salamander FAQs | Axolotl.org | Axolotl FAQs | Forum Functions.


Non Timetis Messor.
Azhael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th January 2015   #19 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 58
Gallery Images: 11
Comments: 0
Rep: Redear is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

I agree with Seth. Hobbyists who are captive breeding in their spare time and provide newts to other hobbyist, in my opinion, are helping. Large scale collecting, importing, exporting, pet shops sales, etc are hurting conservation. I guess my question is how do you define hobbyist? If you are only talking about hardcore enthusiast, I think we are helping through research, captive breeding, and efforts in conservation. However, if you define a hobbyist as anyone who has bought or sold a pet, well that is a different story. Of course nothing is black or white (clear cut). A kid whose parents buy them a firebelly newt at a pet shop could treat it well and be the next great herpetologist. Or, someone who captive breeds newts might have their newts in horrible conditions.
In terms of the pathogen argument, I would need to see data or studies. I know studies have been done about pathogens in the wild. Have any studies been done on pathogens in captive populations?



Redear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th January 2015   #20 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 183
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: manderkeeper has started on the right path
Default Re: Do Hobbyists Hinder Conservation? A Herpetologist's Opinion - What do You Think?

I'm pretty sure many of the people who end up being herpetologist start off by keeping a toad here or a garter snake there. Take away those opportunities and it's unimaginable the losses to science and conservation. From a conservation standpoint, that's the best reason to support captive keeping. It's generally a good idea to keep people interested in wildlife as the number of people lining up to destroy wild places for a profit grow by the day. We should be managing our captive populations for known diseases, though. It is inexcusable to not test for diseases if trading or selling diseases. I only have a few salamanders and I'm getting mine tested for fungal diseases now. I've already done stool samples. I plan to follow this protocol for all new purchases before they enter the salamander room and hope all other hobbyist will do likewise.



manderkeeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
conservation

LinkBack
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads

Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Essential Newt and Salamander Keeping Equipment for New Hobbyists jane1187 General Discussion 4 16th March 2016 00:57
US Reptiles, Amphibians Need Hobbyists' Help & Federal Protection findi Conservation and Habitat Management 0 27th October 2013 04:26
How many hobbyists does it take...? mewsie Off-Topic 10 2nd March 2013 17:33
Herpetologist nickdwaters Introductions Area 2 14th June 2009 21:19
New hobbyists... drew General Discussion & News from Members 2 16th August 2004 21:17


All times are GMT. The time now is 06:49.