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 Post subject: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: May 10th, 2016, 9:05 am 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 9:42 am
Posts: 351
Location: Utah
Herps are not the primary theme of the following article but I think it has a very real influence on how we look at our role in protecting species and which species we choose to protect.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/09/opinion/the-problem-with-protecting-grizzly-bears.html?_r=1

Is the author over simplifying things? Are we risking the integrity of the entire system by continuing to tap into the well where it may not be needed? What are your thoughts?

-Thomas Wilder


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: May 10th, 2016, 8:48 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 406
TW,
As a wildlife biologist, Mr. Rinella’s article is dead on.

Not mentioned is that the individuals states have already made a mockery of their own Threatened and Endangers statues and listed of species. Calif. is typical. In 1971, the CDFG listed the S. Rubber Boa as “Rare” (later changes to ‘Threatened’) without any valid scientific evidence. The listing process was all based on personal opinions.

There now is evidence that the SRB is likely the most numerically abundant species of snake in the San Bernardino Mts. from about 5500 ft. on up. Yet the agency continues to have the SRB listed as threatened.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: May 11th, 2016, 10:05 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1556
I don't know what Rinella does, besides hunt and write. But I'm a career wildlife biologist, with diverse experiences in a lot of places, and I also say he's right on.

Thomas, I'm having trouble understanding this so cannot provide what you ask:
Quote:
Are we risking the integrity of the entire system by continuing to tap into the well where it may not be needed?


Setting aside Mr Hoyer's observations about state management and their "lists", it seems Rinella's main thrust is to get NYT readers to consider their own roles and responsibilities as federal wildlife stakeholders. It is some fraction of those stakeholders who - for whatever beliefs or reasons - are stalling the delisting & de jure recovery of grizzlies in the lower 48.

It's important to point out - to celebrate - the success of de facto grizzly recovery. From their low point in the 1970's, lower-48 grizzly numbers and occupied area have increased about 400-500%. They now occupy virtually ALL of the territory within which they are likely to be tolerated at current densities. Where they now exist, they are mostly pretty dense, and there are many, many grizzly/human (or human-property) encounters. Some encounters are desired (car-bound tourists in Yellowstone or Grand Tetons) but many are sources of friction, often leading to property damage/loss, and/or a dead bear.

If they were managed to a lower density (in order to have fewer grizzly/human encounters), it is possible that they could be tolerated in additional areas. They are a high-conflict species, no getting around it, but I do think there is additional range expansion possible, as long as problem individuals are open to easy killing, and overall densities - thus casual encounter rates - are kept pretty low. In this way (which requires delisting & return to state management), grizzlies would actually be more secure across the lower 48 - their distribution and their actual abundance could be increased. And more rural residents would become accustomed to living with grizzlies - totally wild, but not "overabundant" grizzlies. And the state agencies would have the incentive and the capacity, through the sale of "trophy griz tags" and liberal distribution of "depredation griz tags", to manage grizzlies and their stakeholders' conflicting demands.

Animals are pretty easy to manage.

People however are a pain in the ass, particularly when they are either 1) clueless, callous, and highly opinionated (e.g., a simplistic, unfair, & imperfect characterization of urban wildlife advocates) or 2) stubborn, callous, and/or just pissed off (a simplistic, unfair, & imperfect characterization of rural residents).

I think a key path forward is to both inform and convince urban wildlife advocates, and to engage and mollify rural residents. There's a middle path, one to more wildlife that's also easier to manage. If people will come together to allow it. Otherwise, we can just keep fighting, and have less wildlife. The lawyers will do well though, and I'm sure that's important to all of us. Right?!?!? So, readers, quick, go give a donation to one of those lawyer-heavy "wildlife protection" organizations, and they can help keep up the fight.

My $.02 anyway. I wonder if this'll ignite a flame war. Whatever...

cheers
Jimi


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: May 12th, 2016, 11:33 am 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 9:42 am
Posts: 351
Location: Utah
Jimi wrote:
Thomas, I'm having trouble understanding this so cannot provide what you ask:
Quote:
Are we risking the integrity of the entire system by continuing to tap into the well where it may not be needed?


Jimi the system I am referring is the ESA. Is there a tipping point in the realm of public support that is in danger of being surpassed by not embracing successes with endangered species? Is leaving an animal on the ES list that may not need to be there detrimental to other species that do need to be there because it may dilute the effectiveness of the ESA? Or is it beneficial to maintain the listing of a prominent species like grizzlies to help garner vicarious support for species like the Kanab ambersnail, even though the grizzlies may not need to be on the list?

-Thomas Wilder


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: May 12th, 2016, 12:23 pm 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1556
Ah, I see. Quite a topic you open up, I'll say a little bit by bit:

Quote:
Jimi the system I am referring is the ESA. Is there a tipping point in the realm of public support that is in danger of being surpassed by not embracing successes with endangered species?


The framing here is tough because there's no monolithic "public". Some local publics (commonly 1000's or 10,000's of people) are definitely well past the point of tolerating ESA, due in large part to what they feel is "welching on a deal". I.e., when recovery-plan objectives have been met but the species is still getting full ESA protection, and the local public is still having to endure the associated regulation. Some of these folks think the administration of ESA is so dysfunctional they would like to see the law ("an unjust hammer") blown up. Their elected representatives are happy (for reasons laudable and execrable) to try to do so; the last year has been exceptional in that regard.

Some local publics reject the notion of a legitimate federal ("representing all US citizens") stake or role in wildlife management. To me that's simply outside the established rule of law, and of American custom. It's utterly radical, even treasonous. It smacks of an intolerance, a repudiation, of our American system, and a preference for...something else entirely.

On the other scale extreme of state, national, or international publics (10,000,000's or even 100,000,000's of people), failure to communicate and celebrate ESA successes could lead to loss of support due to perceived inefficacy. Which is simply not the case. ESA has a simple purpose - preventing extinctions. Very, very few ESA-listed organisms have gone extinct; far fewer than non-listed ones. ESA has been very effective from that standpoint - achieving its purpose. Repurposing ESA to achieve an animal-welfare political agenda is to me, immoral, illegal, and counterproductive. That is me talking softly. I could get loud about it.

To me, the constructive challenge is to maintain the effectiveness while reducing the collateral damage to something much more tolerable. A few thousand angry people can sometimes accomplish far more than a few hundred million apathetic ones. Plus, it just sucks to hurt people for no reason. It's even worse to hurt them on account of lies ("the war on wolves will resume without ESA protection") or outdated information.

Quote:
Is leaving an animal on the ES list that may not need to be there detrimental to other species that do need to be there because it may dilute the effectiveness of the ESA? Or is it beneficial to maintain the listing of a prominent species like grizzlies to help garner vicarious support for species like the Kanab ambersnail, even though the grizzlies may not need to be on the list?


It's detrimental for several reasons, including what I've said above. I would add that unnecessary retention on "the list"

1) consumes limited, and declining resources (money, staff time, pro-stakeholder attention span, etc) that more-deserving candidates should get, and

2) also generates a lot of blowback such that it's REALLY hard to get protections for organisms that actually deserve it - it makes it harder to list other taxa, and

3) perversely, ESA listing also often makes it harder to manage the threats that need to be managed - you often have to push obscene amounts of paper just to be able to do what the recovery plan says needs doing. Let alone what more-recent research has shown to be necessary, but which was not known at the time the plan was written. FWS staff - for whatever reasons, I'm sure there are some good ones - often focus more closely on potential "take" of individuals, than on population-level benefits of something you're trying to do. It's hard to get permission to do something that could make 100 or 1000 more, if you might, maybe, kill one. Even though you'd be up 99, or 999. It's weird, and it's frustrating as hell.

I don't buy the "vicarious support" argument. If it needs listing, list it and then recover it if possible. If for any reason it no longer meets the legal definitions of endangered with extinction, or threatened with endangerment, I say get it off the list. Remember, there's the post-delisting monitoring period. Typically it's five time-steps. For something with short generations (e.g., butterfiles), that doesn't take long. For other things (e.g., tortoises), well...it might take centuries. If monitoring shows protections need to be reinstated, they can be.

Kanab ambersnail is a funny example - USGS just published a review paper on it, basically showing that many neighboring ambersnail populations, formerly thought to be other taxa, are actually the "same thing as" Kanabs. Or to be more correct, that the Kanabs never deserved their own name, as the thing they share so many characteristics with (both molecular and phenotypic), was actually named first. http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2013/5164/pdf/sir2013-5164.pdf

I'm curious about the context (wolf? condor? Utah prairie dog?) which led to your posing this question. Perhaps we can spend some time herping this spring or summer, for an extended chat.

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: May 27th, 2016, 3:58 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:30 pm
Posts: 371
Location: St Louis, MO / Hartford, CT
From the couples of states I've looked up the laws on, it seems that most state agencies list something as threatened and boom that's it, I can't touch one but you're more than welcome to bulldoze them all day long so now it's a pain in the arse for anyone who actually cares to see, study, whatever the snakes but they are still afforded zero protection from any demonstrable threats. I'd really like for this to stop. Surely, we must not really be teaching biologists that some guy randomly picking up a couple snakes here are there is causing population declines are we? At least at the state level for herps, wildlife agencies making rules are worse than no rules at all.

As far as the ESA goes, ya I get the same bunch of scumbags sending me flyers all the time wanting me to help them buy more lawyers to sue F&W to do more listings, prevent delistings, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: June 3rd, 2016, 8:47 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
Posts: 3693
Location: San Francisco, California
Unfortunately the worse threats of development bulldozing over flora and fauna will only continue as people want more cars, more Best Buys, more property, some more roads, a faster road, another road.

The people who want them include people who enjoy nature and herp or do other things that restrictions affect, so unless you dont consume those perks its kinda hard to bitch effectively about them.


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: June 4th, 2016, 5:26 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:30 pm
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Location: St Louis, MO / Hartford, CT
I'm not anti-development per say, but I don't favor allowing endless growth of the human population either. I would really like to see families have a tax burden rather than a credit for having children. So for example, zero kids you get zero extra taxes. 1 kid you get charged an extra 1500$ per year, etc, then use that money to turn additional land into public green space for hiking, biking, hunting, wildlife habitat, etc, basically the mirror opposite of the current system.


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: June 4th, 2016, 5:36 am 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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I so agree and there is like an undertone of taboo to suggest it, when it is so elementary and a thing that every person has complete and simple control over - with a variety of ways to accomplish as far as birth control.


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: June 29th, 2016, 12:08 am 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 9:42 am
Posts: 351
Location: Utah
stlouisdude wrote:
I'm not anti-development per say, but I don't favor allowing endless growth of the human population either. I would really like to see families have a tax burden rather than a credit for having children. So for example, zero kids you get zero extra taxes. 1 kid you get charged an extra 1500$ per year, etc, then use that money to turn additional land into public green space for hiking, biking, hunting, wildlife habitat, etc, basically the mirror opposite of the current system.


I realize this is a bit of an "old" topic but I have to respond because I couldn't disagree with you more. Paying people to not have kids will not help protect anything. If anything it will only quicken the rate at which stupid takes over and completely destroys the planet.

I think that people need to take a serious look at the impact their families are having on our planet, and family size certainly plays a big role in that formula, but capping or even incentivizing that variable to a given level is certainly not the only way to change the outcome of the formula. I would argue that it isn't even the most effective way to change the outcome. Take my family for example. I have 5 kids. Now there are many that read that and automatically postulate that 5 kids is way too many and that no one should have more than 2 kids. That is easy to assume by superficially looking at numbers, 5 kids are going to have 2.5x the negative impact on our planet that 2 kids would have after all. But what is not in play here is how the family as a whole is living. For a personal example, I do not have TV or internet at my house, I do not have a smart phone, none of my children have personal devices or game consoles, I ride my bike to work most days, I grow a significant portion of the produce my family uses throughout the year, my family consumes no more than 2lbs of beef in a week, we adopted meatless Mondays as part of our meal planning tradition, we teach our children to respect and take care of the environment, that all life is important to our own, and maybe more importantly so is all death. I will not continue to bore you with what my family does or does not do but I feel fairly confident that my family's negative impact on the environment is less than that of a family half our size.

Now you could counter what I have said by saying that my 5 kids are going to turn into 25 grandkids, and that may be so but my argument to that is this; I would much rather entrust the future of our species and this planet to 25 people that are raised to love and respect the environment, that are willing to look at and calculate their impact on the environment in which they live, than I would 5 people that don't give a damn.

If you want to make an argument against the current child tax credit I will be the first to cheer you on, but I don't see punishing people for having larger families as a viable plan for future environmental improvements.

And to Kelly: I am all for birth control. It is a topic that should be more mainstream in a positive way, but I can't support dictating its use to an individual out of fear the individual isn't going to take appropriate responsibility for the life (and everything that goes into it) they choose to bring into this biosphere.

-Thomas Wilder


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: June 29th, 2016, 9:18 am 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Location: San Francisco, California
I wish more people were like you in the world.


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: December 20th, 2016, 9:08 am 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 3:03 pm
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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: December 22nd, 2016, 11:48 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:56 pm
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Location: SW USA
Since I have no qualms about breaking taboos or the truly useless notion of being politically correct (read mindless sheep who cannot think for themselves) I will contribute and say If one could provide assurances that those 25 kids will respect the environment, live a sustainable life and not turn into another 25 resource consuming monkeys I'd say sure but it would be a miracle if they did.
I suspect kids are more of a business decision than people realize lol.


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 Post subject: Re: What are your thoughts?
PostPosted: January 2nd, 2017, 3:12 pm 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1556
What's up with the "PC" dog-whistle? Read "useful idiot".

Quote:
People however are a pain in the ass, particularly when they are either 1) clueless, callous, and highly opinionated (e.g., a simplistic, unfair, & imperfect characterization of urban wildlife advocates) or 2) stubborn, callous, and/or just pissed off (a simplistic, unfair, & imperfect characterization of rural residents).


I'm guessing...urban wildlife advocate? Ha ha.

Alright, enough dicking around. I'll stop if you will. So - what about the Rinella piece? Or the OP's question? This could be an interesting Congress for the ESA. What about that?


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