Protection--a flawed policy

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Kelly Mc » October 29th, 2013, 11:49 pm

So do I. Hey thanks for your extremely solvent reply. :thumb:

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gbin
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by gbin » October 30th, 2013, 6:03 am

I agree with Kelly - you're really firing on all cylinders in your posts above, jonathan! :thumb:

I'll add that there are also quite a number of native fish enthusiasts out there who collect live specimens to keep in their aquaria; they're really much more comparable to herpers than are birders, for the same reasons jonathan mentioned. And were it not for federal law prohibiting it, you can be sure that quite a few more people would be catching and keeping native birds despite the various reasons for not doing so. There's something in humanity's basic nature that makes us want to make pets of various creatures. To be sure bad things not too infrequently happen as a result (maybe about as often as people do a poor job of raising their own children?), but overall I'd say that impulse is a decidedly good thing.

And yeah, based on what I've seen in zoos where I've worked I'd say that they are pretty much essential these days to giving inner city youth at least some exposure to the natural world, and in some cases they manage to do a heck of a lot more than that. I used to be involved in a program at the MN Zoo called ZooSchool, in which kids enrolled for a summer-long program of lectures by zoo staff, selected reading assignments and a variety of group and independent behavioral projects utilizing the animals in the zoo's collection. Most of the students were well-to-do kids from suburbia, of course, as their families were strongly encouraging of such extracurricular activities and could afford to pay the tuition and arrange for the kids' transportation and absence from home. But we campaigned hard every year to get inner city kids involved, too, and offered some scholarships to make sure the tuition at least didn't prevent it. It was a great experience for all of them, but for those inner city kids it was clearly downright transformative.

Gerry

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » October 30th, 2013, 8:19 am

After having been gone during the past weekend, I have had a chance to read most of the recent posts in this thread. If I am not mistaken, I see a change in tone and there seems to be more agreement of certain aspects. I am leaving for Utah early Thursday but wish to provide others with some considerations to mull over with respect to the issue of 'demand'. Below are the considerations I posted on the national PARC web site in 2005.

Richard F. Hoyer

#########################################

Recreational Collecting: Part - 3: Demand
Attempts to evaluated either the supply or the demand seem not to exist for any species for which recreational collecting may be a target. Therefore, statements indicating that recreational collecting can seriously impact species are nothing more than a product of imagination, are only speculation, and thus lack credibility.

In parts 1 & 2, I touched on the subject of numerical abundance / supply. It would appear that no one seems to have given serious consideration to the subject of demand. Although demand is more difficult to assess, estimates of demand for any particular species probably can be determined. Even, without detailed analysis, there is enough general information dealing with 'demand' to arrive at a reasoned position. Below I have listed considerations relating to the factor of demand.

1) It should be understood that little to no demand exists for the vast majority of snakes and other species of herps as far as recreational collecting is concerned.

2) Demand for many species is small because their appeal is to a limited number of individuals with specialized interests. For instance, the demand for species of rattlesnakes, garter snakes, the Ringneck Snake, etc. is rather small if one takes the time to look into the issue of demand. (See item # 7 below.)

3) There are a few native snakes for which there is a broader level of interest and demand by hobbyists. The greatest demand seems to be for species in the genus Lampropeltis. Species in this genus have large distributions and thus immense numerical populations. One needs to keep in mind that many of the most highly desired species are routinely bred under captive conditions.

4) How many amateur herpetologists are in the U.S? Unlike other specialized interest groups (falconry comes to mind), there is no national organization of field herping enthusiasts from which to obtain membership numbers. If there are 500 to 1000 professionals, would there be 2, 3, 5, or 10 times as many amateurs? If we took the extreme figures, that would only be 10,000 amateurs.

5) There are some state and regional herpetological organizations composed primarily of amateur herpers and hobbyists. From my knowledge of the Oregon and Utah Herpetological Societies and a smattering of information about other such organizations, I believe that most of these organizations have rather small memberships. Even if all 50 states (N. Dakota, Maine, Delaware, Alaska, etc.) had a herp organization of 200 hobbyists, that would only be 10,000 individuals. Although not all herp enthusiasts belong to herp societies, it should be clear that the number of such individuals in the U.S. is rather small.

6) If one examines the composition of such organizations, you would find that the majority of members are primarily interested in the care and maintenance of exotic species. Fewer individuals are interested in our native species and of those, most are into the 'designer' type, captive bred morphs. Fewer individuals are active in seeking native species in the field. (Item #7 provides support for this view.)

7) There are a number of internet forums that focus on field herping. The number of individuals that belong to such forums can possibly be determined however one needs to be aware that many individuals are members of more than one forum. I could not determine the number of users of the "not allowed" Field Note and Observation forum. Fieldherpers.com lists 456 users and FieldHerpForum.com lists 393 users. Again many individuals frequent several forums.

8) Another way to potentially determine demand is from the classified advertising section on forums. The majority of such ads involve exotic and captive bred native specimens but still some assessment of demand for the various species can be viewed and calculated. I urge everyone to visit the title page of "not allowed". There you can view the number of clubs/organizations, forums, classified ads, commercial breeders, etc. all of which can provide insight to the subject of demand.

9) Besides the point that the number of individuals that pursue herps in the field is likely to be quite small, such individuals are dispersed across the nation. Consequently, collecting is also dispersed across the nation. The southern tier of states from S. Calif. to Florida possess the highest number of snakes and other reptiles and if posts on the various forums are an indication, those state have a proportionately higher number of field herp enthusiasts. In viewing the threads on the various forums, it becomes apparent that similar to birders, a good number of individuals mostly observe, list, and take photographs.

10) Except for the beginner who may retain most or all specimens encountered while in the field, individuals quickly learn that maintaining a large numbers of specimens of one or more species is a chore. Consequently, individuals become conservative and selective when it comes to retaining specimens. One way to understand this point is to ask yourselves just how often have you removed species from the wild in order to maintain them as pets, for display, or for breeding stock?

11) Once an individual collects the number of specimens with which he or she is comfortable with maintaining, collecting additional specimens is greatly reduced. Again, many of you can relate to this point having been there yourselves. Collecting for personal use is an activity that by its very nature, is self limiting simply due to expediency.

12) At any point in time during the active season, species are widely dispersed throughout occupied habitat. In addition, for a large number of species, the majority of their populations are either under ground and thus unavailable or under surface objects and not observable or readily available. Consequently, encounters and collecting are generally random as well as widely dispersed over a species' distribution.

13) As abundant as are most species of snakes (and other herps), due to the secretive / fossorial nature of many species, they can be tough to find. Even if you understand something about the biology of a target species and acquire the savvy of knowing when, where and how, many desired species are difficult to collect in any appreciable numbers. If you are not able relate to this point, then you have limited collecting experience with a limited number of species.

14) A non-random feature is that most collecting takes place near areas of ready access, that is, near roads. In comparison to the total amount of occupied habitat by species, the areas near road access is relatively small. Because of this very point and in conjunction with the important fact that snakes and other herps have limited home range territories, neither diurnal collecting near roads, night collecting on roads, or road mortality can seriously impact the overall populations of snakes or most other species of herps. The implications of the latter point (home range territories) appears to have been overlooked by those that claim that road mortality has a serious, negative impact on snake populations. Before reacting and responding (and pointing out some possible exceptions), I urge that some serious thinking be given to these factors.

15) If you understand the mechanics of predation, then you also understand that as the density of a prey population become lower and lower, they becomes harder and harder to find by a predator (including the human predator). This factor, along with the point that the majority of snakes are not exposed on the surface, makes is highly unlikely that collecting pressures can seriously impact species of snakes that command the most interest by herp enthusiasts. Most individuals will not spend countless hours seeking specimens without having success.

16) From viewing post on the various field herping forums and having contact with others, it is very apparent that few individuals have the experience and knowledge of knowing when, where, and how to collect many species of snakes and other herps. This point cannot be over stressed with the result being that for the most part, finding specimens of the desired species is mostly by random chance and good fortune.

17) The populations of snakes and other herps can be considerably reduced by floods, landslides, extended periods of drought or freezing, fire, etc. Yet species recover over time. Ask yourself if recreational collecting is likely to reduce species numbers to the same extent that occurs from these natural occurrences. And if such natural events do not permanently impact species of snakes, then how can recreational collecting produce a permanent impact?

18) Instead of painting with a broad brush and saying that recreational collecting can seriously harm populations of snakes and other herps, as Brian Hubbs alluded to in a PARC post a month or so ago, one really needs to examine each species individually. To establish that recreational collecting can seriously impact a species, one needs to provide an analysis of the supply and demand for any target species. Until such an analysis is produced, it is unwise to embrace the notion that recreational collecting can seriously impact any species of snake or other herp.

19) It is my understanding that at one point, Texas issued herp licenses or permits over a period of years and thus was able to obtain some measure of demand for their native species. Contacting the Texas wildlife agency to determine the process that state used and the result they obtained should prove informative.

Realizing that the number of individuals that participate in field herping is rather small, most lack refined skills at seeking desired species, that herp populations are immense, that most snakes with the highest demand are underground or hidden at any point in time during the active season, how few species are actually sought, how few specimens are actually collected, that the most sought after species are difficult to collect in large numbers, that the area over which collecting takes place is immense, coupled with my understanding of population ecology, recreational collecting never has been a concern. In the face of having no evidence in support the notion that recreational collecting negatively impacts species, I find it astonishing that some herpetologists and others continue to embrace such a view.

If you disagree, that's OK but I suggest you ask yourself whether or not your position is based on a rational analysis of the issue. Or is your position based on personal feelings? Or is it based on what others have speculated in the literature? To gain added insight, below I have copied the PARC post of 9/23/05 by Dr. Jeff Boundy as it relates to commercial collecting of herp species in Louisiana.

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

In Louisiana a good bit of commercial collecting is done along roads for
several reasons. Primarily, the edge-effect provided by the long roadsides
gives a relatively higher productivity than the closed-canopy swamps, with
an abundance of shrubby vegetation and increased prey base. Under such
conditions, green treefrogs, anoles, ribbon and green snakes exhibit much
higher densities than the interior of the swamp and forest. Secondarily,
there are numerous roadside dumps that also seem to increase a prey base of
insects, rodents and lizards.

The commercial amphibian/reptile market in Louisiana is largely
demand-driven, and most species are not saleable. Thus, collectors focus on
relatively few (3-8) species that they know they can sell. The dealers have
a business/conservation sense in that they know they must not deplete their
source of income. They rotate areas for a year or more, in bison-like
fashion, leaving coveted regions "fallow" for a couple of seasons. It
works.

Jeff Boundy
LDWF

Richard F. Hoyer
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » October 30th, 2013, 8:28 am

As for the 'charges' of having started this same topic in the past, I plead guilty. I first started such a discussion many years back on the Kingsnake, 'fieldnotes' forum when some individuals voice concerns about 'over collecting'.

After joining Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) 8 - 10 years ago, I discovered that many PARC participants also believed
that recreation collecting was a problem. For those not familiar with PARC, I believe membership is largely composed of wildlife biologists (state and Fed.), conservationists, professional herpetologists, university students major in related biological fields, and a smattering of other stakeholders. I produced a number of mini-essays dealing with various facets of the issue and there followed some lively discussions.

I always try to hedge in my posts leaving room for the possibility I could be in error. But I need to see convincing evidence or be presented with solid (cause and effect) reasoning. Thus in this thread, I asked if anyone (including Drs. Jeff Boundy and Sam Sweet), knew of some scientific literature that documents significant harm to herp populations due to recreational collecting.

On the national PARC web site, I have twice requested citations that document that recreational collecting produces harm to the overall populations of herp species. I believe the only citation someone mentioned was the same as the one cited by Dr. Jeff Boundy in this thread.

State regulations that place species in a no-take / protected status often have unintended consequences. Such regulations can discourage rather than encourage research on the very species deemed to be in trouble for which baseline data is needed. In this tread, I believe Dr. Sam Sweet and Gerry (gbin) mention that very point.

For the past 12 - 13 years, my involvement with the Rubber Boa in Calif. has involved mark / recapture efforts with the largest share of those efforts taking place in Kern County. Now that all Kern County Charina bottae populations are off limits, I can no longer lawfully pursue recaptures at my various study sites in Kern County. And no longer can the individuals who have helped me with increasing the sample size of the species from Kern County do so.

To study any of the species that were designated in a no-collecting / protected status by the new Calif. regulations that took effect 3/1/13, one now needs to complete and have approved (not a given) an application for a Scientific Collecting Permit and fork over the $420 fee for such a permit.

With respect to bag and possession limits, I may be mistaken but it seems as if there is a consensus agreeing with such provisions for species of herps. Having such bag and possession limits (as seems to be the case for all herps in Calif.), implies that all herps need to be managed. Being a nuts and bolts type individual, some question naturally arise that I hope others will attempt to answer while I am away in Utah for a week.

1) What is the (original) purpose for having seasons, bag limits, and possession limits for species of wildlife? 2) What is the fundamental reason behind the need for managing species of wildlife?

Richard F. Hoyer

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by hellihooks » October 30th, 2013, 10:28 am

In support of the OP's request for considered replies to his quiries, I would offer this for additional consideration: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =35&t=5180

When the country's leading experts on a species resort to 'flooding the market' with free Zonata, to lessen their demand to next to zero, to prevent habitat degradation, BECAUSE of the State's misguided rules... something is seriously wrong.

With the passage of the new regulations, there is now no collection of any Zonata from Kern Co. south. North of Kern Co., I believe the bag limit is still one, with no breeding nor captive-bred sales allowed. This is (IMO) inane and ill-thought. IF for any reason (in my case, herp ed talks) one wanted to have a Zonata, one has no choice but to go find one yourself, and take it from the wild (usually resulting in habitat degradation) or be lucky enough to have someone with a non-commercial breeding permit gift you one.
Of all the bag limits placed on various species... I find a bag limit of one, with largely no captive breeding allowed, the hardest to understand :roll: jim

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Jimi » October 30th, 2013, 5:19 pm

1) What is the (original) purpose for having seasons, bag limits, and possession limits for species of wildlife? 2) What is the fundamental reason behind the need for managing species of wildlife?
"Original" is going pretty far back, but mainly it goes like this:
- they're more about managing human access than they are about regulating wildlife populations - and by access, mainly I mean allocation among people - among user groups

- seasonal closures give wildlife "time off" for important things like eating, unhassled, in winter, or attending young, unhassled, in spring and summer

- they're also a good way to synchronize harvest with the annual supply of "dumb young things" - young-of-the-year that mostly aren't going to survive their first winter anyway, and aren't yet "productive members of society"

- bag limits are (or were, originally) an institutionalization of informal but serious social mores - in this country there have long been tensions between subsistence or "bushmeat" hunters and sport hunters, and bag limits were originally more about keeping wealthy tourist "sports" from over-harvesting (and getting beat up or shot by locals), than anything else

- possession limits are similar, but a way to try & limit "stockpiling" or hoarding a series of daily bag limits; I suspect but do not know for sure, that this was a tactic in breaking up market hunting for "bushmeat"



The fundamental reason behind wildlife management is FAR MORE about managing competing human users than anything else - it's about playing referee among "competing teams". I infer the reason Mr Hoyer asks this, is he would like to illuminate the evident silliness in restricting access to species for which there is little-to-zero demand, for which there are no competing human users.



Looping in the zonata theme - it seems the fundamental need, the answer to the so-very-useful question "where is the decisive piece of ground?", lies in balancing the supply & demand equation. We all need to just f*ing get over the fact that in this case, there IS A DEMAND, and no amount of hard-case snake-copping, or hard-case moralizing against deli-cuppers, is going to eliminate that. But supply can be ramped up quickly, without hammering the wild population, or the habitat. Demand can be filled, and kept low thereafter. How many times has this happened? It's happened with virtually all tricolors. For example when's the last wild-caught Sinaloan milk anyone heard of? It's laughable. In the mid 80's hatchlings sold for around $100 (in 80's dollars). What do they go for now? $30? What's that in 80's dollars? Maybe 15-20 bucks. Supply and demand. Everybody who wants one has one. Live animals are different from dead animals - the replacement rate, the demand, is way lower, unless they all just die. Which CBB tricolors don't. (This is why virtually nobody makes decent money breeding snakes. And why people try to speculate in snake-breeding pyramid schemes, which usually fail.)

I view CDF&W policy as functioning very akin to DeBeers with diamonds - artificially tightening supply of a not-actually-so-rare resource, so as to maintain an artificially-high price. And the microhabitat pays, as the pictures show. That's pretty epically stupid, because the microhabitat is everything with this little extreme-philopatric animal. It looks even stupider when you realize there is no human user group actually asking managers to maintain 1-animal possession limits so that some other user group doesn't get more than "their share". No competing user groups to referee, just a little set of managers that's exercising extreme authority but zero actual leadership on the real problem.

Where's that leave NAFHA - in a leadership vaccuum they could fill. You don't need authority to lead. How much longer are you all gonna wait to get your shit together, guys?

My $.02 anyway.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by chris_mcmartin » October 30th, 2013, 6:11 pm

In the absence of agencies actually trying to ascertain demand, one of the aims of the Herpers Survey I (finally) got up and running is to get a feel for what species (native to the SW US, anyway, given my funding source) are actually pursued by herpers--both for mere field observation and for collecting (or keeping CB) and breeding.

http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=17845

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/herpersurvey2013

Chris

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regalringneck
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by regalringneck » October 31st, 2013, 5:49 am

Jimi, i owe you for succinctly putting that together, nice work.

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Bali Reptile Rescue » November 1st, 2013, 6:09 am

Isnt it true that various species over there have 'locales'?
Because Indonesia has many islands certain locales here get hit very hard
Even Australia had the same problem with various jungle python etc locales being hit
Palmerstons and jullatens were top quality and illegally collected too much

Eastern indigos?
Some kings, corns milks?

Some degree of protection must be given to animals like these

That is why laws are passed
Each species has its own problems, mostly caused by humans
If there is more than 5% probability that unrestricted private collection can adversely affect wild numbers
then unrestricted private collection should not be permitted

If you take cases like the oenpelli python in Australia that is a totally different matter
They are being collected to try and prevent possible extinction and I totally agree with that approach in that case
[even if I dont agree that they they are as rare as they say]

So each case has to be determined on its merits
Peter

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gbin
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by gbin » November 1st, 2013, 8:06 am

Bali Reptile Rescue wrote:If there is more than 5% probability that unrestricted private collection can adversely affect wild numbers
then unrestricted private collection should not be permitted
To quote Kris (azatrox) from a bit earlier in this thread, "I don't think anyone is arguing for unregulated collection..." The topic Richard focused on for this thread is complete prohibition of private collection.

Gerry

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by hellihooks » November 1st, 2013, 4:18 pm

To be more (IMO) accurate, what are/were the rationals for the establishment and continuation of extant Wildlife Management paradigm of species protection/bag limits.

Jimi's response was revelatory, cogent and (IMO) game-changing. Given that, with all due respect Jimi, what would you have Nafha do differently, towards 'getting our shit together'? jim

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Brian Hubbs » November 3rd, 2013, 8:29 am

Wow...so what have we learned from 3 pages of argument and agreement here?

1) Those who have spent decades doing field research seem to have a more lenient position on collecting certain species in the wild.
2) Those who are young lab scientists or students with little field experience don't get it.
3) Some have a personal bias toward non-collection of anything and think everyone should think like they do. Unfortunately, we wouldn't understand 90% of what we now do about certain animals if we all followed that reasoning. In fact, most of us would have no interest in herps if we hadn't been "keepers" at some point. And no interest equals no concern about developing problems or habitat conservation, let alone data collection.
4) No one can be an expert when it comes to all species, and no one can say that any one argument applies to all.
5) There are some really misinformed people on this forum on both sides of the argument.
6) Sam Sweet wins the entertaining, logical, and scientific knowledge award in this thread. :thumb:

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by chris_mcmartin » November 3rd, 2013, 11:27 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:5) There are some really misinformed people on this forum on both sides of the argument.
Need names. Please present your findings in a table. :P

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by hellihooks » November 3rd, 2013, 11:59 am

Miss Informed...is that a really dumb chick who don't know squat? or a really smart one who knows it all? :crazyeyes: :lol: :lol:

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Brian Hubbs » November 3rd, 2013, 4:43 pm

Well, here's a table...and some of my findings on it are very illuminating:

Image

The names are hat, lamp, lantern, picture, lamp, picture...

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Brian Hubbs » November 3rd, 2013, 7:19 pm

Well, we do out west...and on this forum. You're sorta new here John (at least, compared to some of us old timers), stick around awhile... :lol:

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Kelly Mc » November 3rd, 2013, 9:19 pm

Thanks Brian and the rest of you guys for not being that hard on me for showing my soft spot for the ecologically dead. Again. :)

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Jimi » November 4th, 2013, 11:05 am

Given that, with all due respect Jimi, what would you have Nafha do differently, towards 'getting our shit together'? jim
Not the national-level NAFHA in the zonata case - it would have to be the CA chapter. I mean get first yourselves organized around a defined set of desires and then engage CDFW to see if you can't pull off something a "rule change".

So start with a "why". Jim is trying to lead me into a prescription for a "how". To hell with that - it's premature.

So, what's your why? - we've already been through a lot of that. I feel like I've heard, or can infer:
- CDFW constituents and stakeholders report unacceptable levels of localized habitat damage by zonata hunters
- maintaining low supply thus high market value for zonata is perceived to be counterproductive for conservation
- stakeholders feel the 1-animal limit is a significant forcing factor in this market
- CDFW has experience allowing captive propagation of native snakes (Cal king, rosy, etc)
- how has that gone? surely there's been some good and bad, but all in all what have been the net effects? could that model now be extended to another high-demand taxon L zonata?

Does this give anyone who's an actual stakeholder in this management subject, undue heartburn? Anyone who doesn't live in CA, doesn't count.

After you can AND HAVE agreed on a "why" - then you can start brainstorming your "how". As in, how to lessen market factors leading to habitat damage. How? - by changing the 1-animal limit and the captive-propagation rules, or whatever your group agrees it thinks will be helpful.

That's my suggestion, anyway. Enough bitching. Get organized around something you can agree on, then get after it.

cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by chris_mcmartin » November 4th, 2013, 2:41 pm

Jimi wrote:Does this give anyone who's an actual stakeholder in this management subject, undue heartburn? Anyone who doesn't live in CA, doesn't count.
Why wouldn't someone who travels from out of state, to spend money in CA, looking for herps count as a stakeholder? Maybe not as critical a stakeholder, but surely their opinions matter to an extent.

It also doesn't help that CA wardens (well, at least one) will tell out of staters that they are bound by the CA possession limits for CA native herps, even if they were gifted to said out of staters (e.g. mailed or delivered to them). In essence, they're trying to say EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE is limited to 1 zonata.

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Jimi » November 4th, 2013, 4:07 pm

Why wouldn't someone who travels from out of state, to spend money in CA, looking for herps count as a stakeholder?
For the same reason a minor or a non-citizen should save his breath if he wants to change the law - he doesn't have a vote. Oh sure he's welcome to his opinion. He can share it. If he can get an actual voter to express the same opinion all the better. But just think - it's Cal fish & game. They - like their masters in the legislative branch - work for the people of - the residents of - California. Other people in other states and countries, yeah whatever. Blah blah blah.

Turn the hat around - would you as a Kansas resident (state population what, 2-3 mil?) appreciate YOUR state government catering to the whims of the unwashed horde of almost 40 million "Californicators"? Not on your life, I bet. Perhaps "constituent" would have been a better word for me to use. Regardless, I'm here to tell you, state agencies just don't - they can't, alright? - listen much to out-of-staters. Because it would piss off the constituents too much. You work for & report to your boss, not some other guy, right?
It also doesn't help that CA wardens (well, at least one) will tell out of staters that they are bound by the CA possession limits for CA native herps, even if they were gifted to said out of staters (e.g. mailed or delivered to them). In essence, they're trying to say EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE is limited to 1 zonata.
That's a minority position, probably held by a couple of wingnuts in every agency; one that's easy to get fixated on, but not a real problem. The beauty of having this discussion with his chain of command, is that the official - the actually legal - position will get clarified. Besides, like I said, CDFW already has experience dealing with CBB markets for other CA natives. This is not a bridge too far. The key question is who owns captive-sourced progeny. Is it a private commodity, or still public property like a wild animal? Very few agencies, and very few programs in those agencies, try to maintain public ownership of captive progeny. This is why some agency staff hate captive breeding - it creates some philosophically-disturbing situations. Like so much in life. Oh well...

I would recommend to the Cal chapter guys - if humanly possible, get law enforcement involved in developing the new rules. They'll help stop some stupid, I promise - vague, unenforceable crap. They'll appreciate the chance to help stop some stupid. And there's nothing like working together to get to know each other a little better. To the extent that LE "gets you", that's a bonus for you. The unknown is a boogeyman, the known is just your neighbor.

cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by hellihooks » November 4th, 2013, 5:04 pm

Yes Jimi, for the most part (at least here in Ca), we know the why... and have been working on the 'how' by increasing our ethos and repute by doing surveys and providing data for both private conservancies, research and (more and more) State agencies. The 'plan' has always been: gather enough data and build up enough repute, to have some say.
Given your reply to Richard's fundamental question (origins/continuation of extant wildlife management strategies) that its (in a nutshell) an ingrained people-controlling-people paradigm, and (IMO) once these 'iron crosses' of control are established, they are next to impossible to break... our 'plan A' seems doomed to be ineffectual.

I DID mean... "what can we do differently"... as in, What's 'Plan B'? People, and Agencies run by people, are very rarely willing to give up power, and the infrastructures that support (in some cases) their very existence. (see Kuhn'sThe Structure of Scientific Revolution) How then do we approach the problem of getting extant bureaucracies to change?
I suggested a 'small steps' idea... with one idea (step) being: push for a 'Citizen Scientist' stamp on the Fishing Licenses we have to buy to herp, allowing citizen scientists to collect data (only) on all Ca species. Who knows... after a few more steps, (herp stamp?) we may even get get to where we're recognized as an actual sub-set of people, by getting our own 'herping licenses' rather than being lumped in with fisherman. :roll:
Any other 'plan B' ideas/approaches out there? :| jim

Edit..."I would recommend to the Cal chapter guys - if humanly possible, get law enforcement involved in developing the new rules. They'll help stop some stupid, I promise - vague, unenforceable crap. They'll appreciate the chance to help stop some stupid. And there's nothing like working together to get to know each other a little better. To the extent that LE "gets you", that's a bonus for you. The unknown is a boogeyman, the known is just your neighbor."

That's fine advice (and appreciated) but... don't we first have to convince the 'powers that be' that changes are needed? I wonder how many people in Wildlife Management even realize their jobs are all about controlling people, and not wildlife. Be nice if we had someone in that Field, who could 'clue them in'... :lol: :lol:

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Brian Hubbs » November 4th, 2013, 5:14 pm

Does any other state have a herp stamp, and if so, how is it working, how much money does it raise, and what is done with the money? I think herp stamps are a waste of time. Just talk one billionaire into buying some habitat to preserve it and you'll do immediately what 20 years of herp stamps can't do.

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Jimi » November 4th, 2013, 5:48 pm

How then do we approach the problem of getting extant bureaucracies to change
work on yourselves first

can you get 10 guys together 4 times to "write something by committee", and at the end - can they say something about what they all want and can all live with?

if the answer is "not yet" - stop throwing rocks at the bureaucrats, and get your own shit together first

"plan A" on its own is not a plan, it's just nice behavior
don't we first have to convince the 'powers that be' that changes are needed?
nope - first is deciding & agreeing among yourselves what you want to change and what you want to have instead

then you get after it

good luck,
Jimi

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by chris_mcmartin » November 4th, 2013, 7:02 pm

Jimi wrote:For the same reason a minor or a non-citizen should save his breath if he wants to change the law - he doesn't have a vote.
True, no vote, but money talks. Granted, I don't think there is a sufficient number of herpers coming and spending a lot of money from out of state--but then again, that deflates the argument that people are coming in and pillaging all the herps, right?
Turn the hat around - would you as a Kansas resident (state population what, 2-3 mil?) appreciate YOUR state government
Whoa, whoa, whoa...I am NOT a KS resident...you would've had me if you said 'Texas.' 8-)
Perhaps "constituent" would have been a better word for me to use.
Yes.

Because it would piss off the constituents too much. You work for & report to your boss, not some other guy, right?
It's interesting how much a nonresident license costs compared to a resident license in many cases...the animals don't care if they're hunted, collected, positioned for photos, etc. by a local or an out-of-stater. So basically it seems they want to have their cake and eat it too ("we don't work for these out-of-staters, we work for the residents...but we sure like that out-of-state money coming into our coffers").

The key question is who owns captive-sourced progeny. Is it a private commodity, or still public property like a wild animal? Very few agencies, and very few programs in those agencies, try to maintain public ownership of captive progeny. This is why some agency staff hate captive breeding - it creates some philosophically-disturbing situations.
Shouldn't be too more disturbing than limiting out on dove or bass, keeping them, eating them, then going out and doing the same the next day, or next week. Once that initial specimen is out of circulation (in the wild), it appears more acceptable to EAT them and then go remove MORE from the wild than to MAKE more and TAKE less...

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by chris_mcmartin » November 4th, 2013, 7:04 pm

Brian Hubbs wrote:Does any other state have a herp stamp, and if so, how is it working, how much money does it raise, and what is done with the money? I think herp stamps are a waste of time. Just talk one billionaire into buying some habitat to preserve it and you'll do immediately what 20 years of herp stamps can't do.

http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... mp#p205004

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Brian Hubbs » November 4th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Uh, yeah...just as I suspected. Ya'll have fun with that...if TX can screw it up that bad, just imagine what Gov. Brown's state can do... :lol: :lol: :lol: God, I love living in AZ... 8-) They have their act a little better together...it's not perfect, but we all can't live in Montana or South Dakota or Florida...or Louisiana.

Just for fun, check this out:

CA allows 1 zonata - AZ allows 4 pyros but has 75% fewer pyros than CA has zonata
In UT you pay for a special lic. to collect 1 or 2 pyros (not sure of the exact number - help me out here Jimi)
CA allows 4 getula - AZ allows 4 getula, but has 90% fewer than CA
NM allows 10 getula, but has 50% fewer than AZ
CA allows 2 Rosy boas - AZ allows 4 Rosy boas
UT allows 1 or 2 milk snakes with a special lic. - AZ allows 4 milk snakes with a regular hunting lic. (2 per year)
NM still has a commercial collecting permit, but doesn't seem to be suffering from over-collection.

So, how much do I take advantage of these bag limits? I own 1 zonata, 1 pyro, 2 AZ getula, and no AZ milks. I have other milks, and other getula, but they are from different states and have no limit in AZ. I even have 2 milks from the great state of Lyndon B. Johnson.

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by azatrox » November 5th, 2013, 5:48 am

CA allows 1 zonata - AZ allows 4 pyros but has 75% fewer pyros than CA has zonata

Holy crap! 75% less you say? Then I must be a helluva herper because I can't help but turn up those trash snakes while looking for molossus and cerbs in some locales! :lol:

-Kris

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by hellihooks » November 5th, 2013, 9:20 am

Jimi wrote:
nope - first is deciding & agreeing among yourselves what you want to change and what you want to have instead

then you get after it

good luck,
Jimi
Problem there is, we are not by nature, a solidified group...in fact, our 'Mission Statement' was carefully crafted to erect a very large tent...
"To unite amateur/private herpetologists and professional herpetologists in the collection of data with the goal of conserving North American herpetofauna, with a greater goal of species management. A highlight of this group is to provide state or provincial and national game agencies with sufficient data to assist in the development of more educated decisions on how to better manage reptile and amphibian populations."

The 'goal of conserving North American herpetofauna' brings in the Conservationists, and the 'greater goal of species management' brings in the 'herpers rights' faction (that want laws changed, so that they can breed, say...Zonata) And we're a volunteer organization, ostensibly ruled by member vote. ANY policy decision is subject to full-member vote, with (typically) very low voter turnout (apathy).
What in the world ever gave you the idea we were a 'real group', and that our elected officials had any real power?

Unless of course, if by 'get your shit together' you mean 'get real' by becoming an autonomous legally-recognized non-profit organization? In which case, I agree, and have been advocating this for years.
That said... I'm not an 'officer' anymore, and quite frankly...just barely a member... :roll: there it is... :| jim

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Brian Hubbs » November 5th, 2013, 11:36 am

Kris: What I meant was 75% less "habitat and range" or 75% less of a total population. I didn't mean the densities were 75% smaller... :lol:

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Jimi » November 5th, 2013, 12:36 pm

In UT you pay for a special lic. to collect 1 or 2 pyros (not sure of the exact number - help me out here Jimi)
UT allows 1 or 2 milk snakes with a special lic. - AZ allows 4 milk snakes with a regular hunting lic. (2 per year)
I believe the instrument is called a "preauthorized Certificate of Registration for personal-use possession". The process is outlined here http://www.rules.utah.gov/publicat/code ... 57-053.htm with more detail here: http://wildlife.utah.gov/hunting-in-uta ... books.html

Yeah you pay $85 I think to get into each of the draws (3?) which are held the 2nd week of January. I think you indicate which species (I think getula is also covered by this process, which is why I say 3 draws), and which county you want to harvest from (giving top and backup preferences, in case we have >1 guy who e.g., wants to harvest a county X pyro). I believe an individual can only harvest 1 animal per species each year - that's the bag limit of the tag. But the possession limit is something else - higher. And you can get a permit to breed, and the CB offspring do not count against your possession limit. So if you can limit out in 2 years, and get your "propagation COR" you've got a little breeding program started. There are rules about distributing the young...

I think we offer 4 pyros and 8 milks & getula a year. Not sure what hunter success rates are, or even if we sell all 20 tags. Or ever have. Anyway, don't quote me on all this, it isn't my job and honestly I'm not even that interested, except that I think it's all way too complicated and restrictive (e.g., compare these 20 kingsnake tags with ~ 5000 bobcat & cougar tags (which are cheaper, too!) - I mean it's just odd), and that local herpers are 1) getting a raw deal but 2) not willing to show up and change the deal, so I guess they're happy enough. Not happy (so I hear, all the time...), just happy enough.
Problem there is, we are not by nature, a solidified group
That right there is the principal regulator on your - any group's - potential to influence a wildlife agency. Stay like that and the potential will stay very, very, very low. I've seen it a number of times. Traditional hook & bullet, nontraditional (birdwatchers, herpers, whatever), whatever - the principle is the same. People who can self-organize will get heard, people who cannot will not get anyone's attention. It isn't necessarily due to any sort of active antipathy from anyone - rather, there's only so much time in the day, only so much energy in a body. You can't do it all so you have to prioritize. The solitary cranks, or the solitary guys who make a lot of sense, or the groups of 3 guys with 2, 3, or 4 opinions - they just don't rise to the level of "priority". It's really disturbing to see 2 competing user "groups", where one is really organized and the other just isn't (say catch & release fishermen, and "meat fishermen") - the organized one will just roll right over the others. The agency just can't deal with disorganized stakeholders. The pack survives, the loner dies. I'm not saying it's right - or wrong - but I am saying that's what I've seen, for years and years.
What in the world ever gave you the idea we were a 'real group', and that our elected officials had any real power?
It's a group with some common interests. Your elected officials have been granted some authority. And they, and anyone else, are free to exercise as much leadership as they can manage.
Unless ... you mean ... by becoming an autonomous legally-recognized non-profit organization?
That would be a good way. But I don't know that it's necessary. Literally - I do not know. I'm inclined to believe not, yet still think it would be a - A - good way.



Parting thought/shot: how much virtue is there in claiming all sorts of values, but not actually living them? If you want to know who you ARE, look at what you DO. Not what you say, not what you think, not the stories you tell about yourself. A big tent is all well and good for ideas, for talking, but if it encompasses conflicting values, the tent isn't worth much when it's time to DO something. It's just a big stupid bag that restricts your freedom of movement and makes it hard to see what's going on out there.

Sometimes you have to make a choice. There are no equal pairs of "top priorities". There is a #1 and there is a # 2 priority. Sometimes you can do both. But if you can only do one, you do #1, and not # 2. That's what I mean about finding out who you really ARE. It can hurt, but it can be so liberating, and so enlightening.

Maybe NAFHA doesn't want to touch herp regs, and you only want to be about photovouchered dots on a map. Maybe you do want to be about both (there is a relationship). If you want to actually do anything as a group, if you want to wield some influence and make some positive change, you need to have the conversation, make some decisions, and get after whatever it is you want.

cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by klawnskale » November 5th, 2013, 5:57 pm

The Los Angeles Chapter of the Southwestern Herpetologists Society is having as its guestpeaker Wednesday, 11/6 Tim Hovey a biologist who has worked 14 years with Cal Fish and Wildlife. You are all welcome to come to the meeting and chat with him. He conducts population surveys of snakes in the region. We meet tomorrow night at 7:30PM at the East Valley (San Fernando Valley) Animal Shelter in Van Nuys (Google Map it). Be there, give your input, or miss out on an opportunity...

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » November 14th, 2013, 11:16 pm

Back from Utah
Some individuals indicated they believe all or most herps should be managed. I don't, and for the same reasons I don't believe worms should be managed even thought there is some demand for worms which are collected for fish bait and perhaps other purposes. I see no biological rational for managing non-game species that are not in need of being managed.

And that includes the vast majority of herp species, non-game mammals, non-game fish, and non-commercial invertebrates. I would include most non-game birds but all native birds (except the Wren-tit) are covered under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and thus are 'managed' as being in a protected (hands-off) status.

Thus, on Oct. 30 , I asked two questions "1) What is the (original) purpose for having seasons, bag limits, and possession limits for species of wildlife? 2) What is the fundamental reason behind the need for managing species of wildlife?"

Jimi's response of 10/30 was very informative and went well beyond what I expected. It has been close to 60 years since I was an undergraduate in wildlife science (OSU, 51 -55) so my memory may be a bit blurred. But as I recall, in the late 1800's and early 1900's, the populations of some species of wildlife were greatly reduced primarily by market hunting. Elk, deer, bison, waterfowl, and some other bird species were harvested in excess, the latter for their feathers and plumes. I believe the Passenger Pigeon became extinct largely due to market hunting.

As a result of this over harvesting of wildlife resources, where demand was outstripping annual surpluses (supply), wildlife agencies came into being along with regulations governing the harvest of species in high demand. Market hunting was eliminated for the above species. The harvest of game species then became regulated by having fishing and hunting licenses, open and closed seasons, and daily, season, and possession limits. Similar restrictions were enacted for species of commercial value.

All of the above involved species for which demand was capable of having considerable impact on annual surpluses (supply). I have yet to have anyone explain, in rational terms, why bag and possession limits are needed for species in which demand is either zero or is very low in relation to the supply (numerical abundance). So that is my take on the answers to the two questions I posed.

I will close with a quote from Jimi's post of 10/30. "I infer the reason Mr. Hoyer asks this, is he would like to illuminate the evident silliness in restricting access to species for which there is little-to-zero demand, for which there is no competing human users."

Richard F. Hoyer

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » November 15th, 2013, 10:06 am

The post by Ben on 10/15 stated he liked Wisconsin's laws. Non-residents cannot collect herps and residents have bag limit guidelines.

My post last night provided my take with respect to having bag and possession limits on species where demand is small in comparison to overall numerical abundance (supply). For comparison with what Ben mentions for Wisconsin, the following is what I understand to be the case for the three west coast states with respect to the collecting of herps. Everyone can decide for themselves which makes the most sense.

To the best of my knowledge, Washington does not allow any collecting of herps. In order to do so, one must apply for and then be granted a special collecting permit. I did that very thing for a number of years in conjunction with my gatheriing information on the Rubber Boa and Common Sharp-tailed snake in Washington.

California requires a fishing license for collecting herps. And the state has both bag and possession limits for their native species ranging from 1 for the Mt. Kingsnake, 2 for most species of snakes, 4 for a few species of snakes, and larger limits for some species of lizards and amphibians. That is, even if populations of such non-listed species number in the millions, they place a limit on how many you can collect and maintain. Non-residents can collect herps provided they obtain a non-resident fishing license.

In Oregon, all non-game species (including herps) that are not listed in some category of concern, can be collected by residents and non-residents. No license is required and there is no restriction on the number that can be collected or in possession. The only stipulations are that such non-game species cannot be sold or bartered. A separate statute indicates such specimens need to be maintain in a humane manner.

So Ben, and other all herpers can come to Oregon and collect to your hearts content all non-listed species including my 'beloved' Rubber Boa. And I have absolutely no problem with such an arrangement knowing that in relation to numerical abundance and annual surplus of all such non-game species, demand is exceedingly small and that includes the Rubber Boa.

If you read my post dealing with demand, you should know that collecting live specimens for personal (non-commercial) reasons is a self limiting endeavor. There is just so much time and effort that anyone would be willing to expend towards maintaining many captive specimens.

Of the three west coast states and Wisconsin, the situation in Oregon is the only one having biological merit. Since all of the 'collectable' species in Oregon must number in the many hundreds of thousand to millions and demand is infinitesimal, there is no need for managing such species and thus no need for bag or possession limits. The situation is identical to my reference to the collecting of worms.

Does anyone on this forum believe that the populations of non-game species in Oregon, including herps, are suffering due to the lack of being 'managed' and the lack of bag and possession limits? As I mentioned previously, there is no reason for managing species for which management is not needed.

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » November 15th, 2013, 7:56 pm

dthor68:
After having read the input contained in this thread, I was wondering if your views on collecting of herps is now the same as it was when you posted on October 17th?

Secondly, you and others got stuck on the word 'hypothetical' and seem to have overlooked the major point I was trying to make. That's okay, and if you would like an actual example, I can provide a non-hypothetical example involving a species of snakes I have studied that would provide the same major point I was trying to make with the S. Torrent Salamander example.

Third, the example you cite about humans picking millions of blueberries along the Blue Ridge Parkway I found of interest. Has this been an annual harvest of millions of blueberries along that parkway occurred over a good number of years? If that is the case, then such an example actually lends supports for my position about collecting.

Unless the harvest of blueberries has continually gone down hill year after year, that mature blueberry plants have partly destroyed, run over, dug up, etc., then your example is a classical example of a harvest of a renewable resource. The collecting (harvesting) of herps with large populations is similar.

There can be an annual take of such a resources without affecting the overall sustainability of the resource. I suggest that is the most likely scenario with respect to the collecting of blueberries along Blue Ridge Parkway. As a matter if fact, here in Oregon we do exactly the same thing with not only wild blueberries, but wild currents, salmon berries, wild goose berries, elder berries, both native and feral species of black berries, etc.

Fourth I may recall I mentioned that there are some states that have commercial take of herps and have been doing so for decades. The fact that such herps can be harvested annually and remain as sustainable population should resonate with everyone. That game species are annually harvested should also be a clear indication that herps can also be harvested (collected) without their overall populations being harmed.

Your last sentence states the following: "And, why do the pro collectors always start these threads, are you trying to make yourself feel better about the situation?"

As a serious hobby, in the mid 1960's I made the decision to learn all I could about the biology of the Rubber Boa as so little had been published on the species. I do maintain a number of specimens in order to gain information of a biological nature (diet, reproduction, growth, etc.). But the major thrust of my efforts involves mark / recapture.

Similar to Ben, I too have a philosophical bent towards allowing snakes to live out their natural lives in the wild. And recaptured specimens can provide a wealth of basic biological information such as mean growth rates for the different sexes and age classes, longevity in the wild, female reproductive frequencies, and more. At one of my sites this year, I found one boa that had been originally captured in 1991.

But I do wish to thank you and all others that have contributed to this thread. I hope at least a few individuals may have a better grasp of the issue of collecting. That others remain unconvinced is a given since my skills at communication have never been one of my stronger points. Should you or anyone else need additional input or have questions, I can be reached at [email protected]

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » November 24th, 2013, 9:31 pm

I can understand individuals dismissing my views as someone that lacks any real credentials being void of a degree in herpetology, no advanced university degree, and without any professional affiliation. Since this thread had run its normal course, I was inclined to just let it fade away.

However, some individuals seem not to be aware that at least three professional herpetologists provided their insights within this thread. Gerry (gbin) indicated he had moved from Texas to NY and I do not know his current professional status. Dr. Sam Sweet is a long time professor at UC Santa Barbara. And Dr. Jeff Boundy has been with the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries for many years.

So I thought it might be informative if I were to copy parts of these gentleman's posts. Because the CDFW biologist (Laura Patterson) now in charge with herps indicated a willingness to learn about issues pertaining to herps, I sent her copies as well.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
gbin (Gerry) part of his post of 10/20/13
===============================
3) Blanket protection is a form of management, yes, but it's such a passive, unthinking and prohibitive form of management that in many ways it mimics no management at all, and worse, it often precludes more active, reasoned forms of management. It can and does commonly discourage, and in some cases even prohibit, efforts to learn more about and improve how we handle a given species and the threats it faces.

It all too readily allows people to believe they've done something concrete for wildlife conservation when all they've actually done is put another meaningless law on the books. And it erects yet another barrier between people and nature when now more than ever we need people to understand and appreciate nature (even if we as individuals don't particularly like all of the ways in which others find their appreciation).

Effective management targets action at meaningful threats, and meaningful threats are identified by prioritizing among possibilities by use of reason and data, not emotional appeal or personal interpretation of anyone's preferred deity's will. For these reasons I and many other long-time professionals I have known in wildlife conservation view hands-off legislation as a hinderance rather than help to our efforts.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dr. Jeff Boundy post of 1/21/13
============================================
Our Department (Louisiana) just revised our SSC list of about 25 taxa, only three of which require more than a fishing license to collect, and no bag limits on the others. Paradoxically, we encourage researchers, hobbyists and commercial folks to report their finding or take of SSC animals. Our biologists work at maintaining a rapport with our constituents to perpetuate the existing exchange of information with the public. In fact, I have gently chastised individuals who have released or failed to document important specimens.

There's a suggestion in here somewhere for other State Agencies.

Jeff

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Part of Dr. Sam Sweet post of 10/22/13
========================================
As a society we have adopted the view that we should not be causing extinctions, and that this common goal (persistence) is worthy enough that we impose restrictions on the actions of a subset of people. Most of the time the constrained subset is not actually named, but instead it becomes clear from context. The regulation "no person may take Diadophis p. regalis in California" may annoy us all, but it actually affects very few people and even fewer snakes.

Does it do any good? Of course not, collecting pressure is an infinitesimally small contributor to mortality for a snake with that ecology and distribution. Now ask yourself if that regulation would also prevent establishing a dolomite mine at the head of that valley with a haul road down the canyon carrying 500 truck trips/day. Of course not. This is what is f**ked up.

Regulations (mostly at the state level) that make individual animals untouchable but have no power to protect populations by saving habitat cannot be taken seriously as components of a conservation strategy.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Part of Jeff Boundy post of 10/27/13
======================================
Having a long-term knowledge of particular species, whether few or many, does present factual evidence about the nature of their populations and the factors that positively and negatively effect their persistence. These are not gripes with local laws, but reflect a knowing (or non-dis-approvable) claim that placing a zero bag limit on species does two things: does nothing to protect the species from decline, and prohibits the acquisition of useful data about their populations. Richard Hoyer's use of the Southern Torrent Salamander is a perfect example: people are very rarely collecting them (if so, usually under a Scientific Collecting Permit), and prohibition of collecting presents a false assumption that the State has prevented a threat to the survival of the species.

Most of the non-ESA species that are presented for zero bag limits can demonstrably shown to be under near zero threat from commercial or recreational take.

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by azatrox » November 25th, 2013, 6:03 am

What is interesting to me in this thread (well, one of the things anyway) is that you have some that say: "Yeah, we've covered this ground a hundred times already!" and others that have contributed numerous times...Yet, this thread (much like the ones re: this topic that preceeded it) illustrate that this appears to be an important topic in this community...While some may be tired of discussing it, it remains something that is a topic of a certain level of disagreement amongst us.

As such, is it appropriate to say: "We'll just agree to disagree."? In some cases maybe....But as relates to the fundamental question of public policy with regard to our ability to enjoy, document and understand these animals I'd say no...We can't simply shrug our shoulders and agree that there will be no agreement. I think that to do so is to encourage the eventual prohibition of ALL activities relating to the study and understanding of these animals, as those without a vested interest in the management of such have no qualms with limiting the ability of others to do so.

And that's the fundamental issue I have with those that propose a "no take" type system on everything. One may not personally believe in collection (for whatever reason), and that's fine...That said there's a big bridge to cross to say that just because one feels this way that public policy should reflect those feelings. If one feels that no collection of anything really is the way to go public policy-wise, then they're most likely not collecting anything themselves (one would hope). Why then the necessity to extrapolate that desire onto the rest of society (especially in light of the lack of scientific evidence in support of such a stance)? One's personal ethos is already intact by their actions, yet if they feel that their ethos must be imposed upon others as a matter of "right vs. wrong", then I'll submit that these types are no different than religious zealots or political talking heads who unabashedly ignore other's rights to see the world as they do...that is to say that they'll be the first to stand and ascert their right to see the world as they do, yet when it comes to respecting others' rights to do so, they are remarkably silent.

Par for the course I suppose.

-Kris

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Kelly Mc » November 25th, 2013, 12:35 pm

How do you know if someone with another view point does or doesn't respect the others view,or see the others point? How does one respect, or see out loud? I learned many things reading this post but still have my own views that have grown ivy like over the years, and are in direct conflict with the only way I've ever made a living. They were probably perceived as irrelevant by many, but they were earnest. I wasn't even jackaled. Because of that I saw and learned from this post and still retain my own ideas.

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Sam Sweet
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Sam Sweet » November 25th, 2013, 3:30 pm

The matter of interest groups raises a different kind of question than has been discussed here up to now. In many states including California environmental consultants are required to have scientific collecting permits, and USFWS requires section 10 permits for any work that might "harass" a federally threatened or endangered species. While consultants record their locality observations, most of the time they are not retaining specimens or doing anything beyond the most rudimentary research. An enthusiast who targets, say, milk snakes and keeps records of activity dates, weather conditions and habitat features is doing basic ecological research, whereas someone who watches bulldozers dig trenches one day and sprays invasive weeds the next is not. The regulators do not differentiate, and commercial applications vastly outnumber scientific proposals.

Federal and state permits have become a form of currency in the consulting business. If you do not have an employee with California tiger salamander permits you cannot bid on certain contracts. Usually the permits are awarded to individuals, and the federal permits at least require documentation of experience working with a permitted individual, or taking courses run for profit by permittees. This necessarily commercializes the process, and when states impose ridiculous fees they are simply being mindful that a scientific collecting permit can be worth a significant boost in salary to the majority of recipients. Bogus qualifications are not unknown, and complaints to Congressmen often follow denials ("I am a small business owner and I cannot compete unless the jackbooted thugs stop being so picky about permits'").

There are major unresolved problems with this, especially at the federal level, where the empowering legislation specifies that permits must contribute to recovery -- most consulting activities have little or no effect on recovery unless significant mortality or habitat loss is averted. Likewise, it is hard to call most consulting activities either scientific or research (though to be fair some consulting contracts are specifically for research). It would make a lot of sense to separate "consulting" from "research", and to have separate permitting structures that account for the intrinsic differences between these activities. A consulting permit would be a license like a plumbing or electrical license, and would cover things like active search, catch-and-release, pitfall trapping, pre-approved translocations and so on, as evidence of training or experience in each category was provided. A scientific permit would remain what it was before the advent of the consulting industry -- authorization to take animals for some type of coherent investigation into ecology, relationships, status or whatever.

I suspect this split has already occurred in some states -- anyone have examples? It would help to reduce one comment I hear all too frequently -- "you bastards are making a bundle of money off environmental and wildlife laws!" This causes me to look at the road-killed night snake I got in return for 150 miles of driving and am going to pickle and donate to the public collection, and wonder what I been doing wrong.

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by klawnskale » November 25th, 2013, 4:47 pm

a lot of sense to separate "consulting" from "research", and to have separate permitting structures that account for the intrinsic differences between these activities. A consulting permit would be a license like a plumbing or electrical license, and would cover things like active search, catch-and-release, pitfall trapping, pre-approved translocations and so on, as evidence of training or experience in each category was provided. A scientific permit would remain what it was before the advent of the consulting industry -- authorization to take animals for some type of coherent investigation into ecology, relationships, status or whatever.

I suspect this split has already occurred in some states -- anyone have examples? It would help to reduce one comment I hear all too frequently -- "you bastards are making a bundle of money off environmental and wildlife laws!" This causes me to look at the road-killed night snake I got in return for 150 miles of driving and am going to pickle and donate to the public collection, and wonder what I been doing wrong.[/quote]

Sam: I think this is a fantastic idea. I think the main reason some of the federal/state agencies won't consider this is because it is too logical a suggestion and makes perfect sense; even though it could be an additional source of revenue. From what I have experienced having been involved with some construction mitigation, there is very little research involved with this type of work. It's more about following and meeting established regulations. It would definitely fill a niche that is in high demand.

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by gbin » November 25th, 2013, 5:45 pm

azatrox wrote:What is interesting to me in this thread (well, one of the things anyway) is that you have some that say: "Yeah, we've covered this ground a hundred times already!" and others that have contributed numerous times...Yet, this thread (much like the ones re: this topic that preceeded it) illustrate that this appears to be an important topic in this community...While some may be tired of discussing it, it remains something that is a topic of a certain level of disagreement amongst us.
I do understand where you're coming from, Kris, and I'd be right there with you but for two things:

1) It appears that no one here is ever persuaded to change their views on this topic in the slightest, no matter how much they participate in discussion with those holding alternative views. Reasoned arguments or passionate pleas, everything seems like so much water off a duck's back. That makes it appear to be a futile exercise.

2) Worse than futile, it's an exercise that appears to divide our community. We spend so much time and effort splitting ourselves into factions, and so little time and effort on joining forces. And this is one of the main topics we abuse in that way. To say it's depressing is putting it mildly.

I realize that we've a small(?) but steady stream of newcomers, at least some of whom must be participating in this debate for the first time. At least some opportunity for education exists thereby. Maybe a few people who have been around longer but who aren't speaking up are even having their views at least slightly modified thereby. But is that worth it? I truly don't know, but for my part I'd be much more accepting of these recurring debates if I could see even the tiniest bit of movement among the participants - preferably in the direction of reason.
Sam Sweet wrote:... It would make a lot of sense to separate "consulting" from "research", and to have separate permitting structures that account for the intrinsic differences between these activities. A consulting permit would be a license like a plumbing or electrical license, and would cover things like active search, catch-and-release, pitfall trapping, pre-approved translocations and so on, as evidence of training or experience in each category was provided. A scientific permit would remain what it was before the advent of the consulting industry -- authorization to take animals for some type of coherent investigation into ecology, relationships, status or whatever.
Hear, hear! Extremely well thought out and said, Sam! :thumb: Definitely gets my vote for the most worthwhile contribution to this thread.

So, how do we move that idea forward?...

Gerry

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Brian Hubbs » November 25th, 2013, 7:03 pm

What to do? Here ya go:


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Mark Brown
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Mark Brown » November 26th, 2013, 2:20 am

gbin wrote:We spend so much time and effort splitting ourselves into factions, and so little time and effort on joining forces. And this is one of the main topics we abuse in that way. To say it's depressing is putting it mildly.
You said a mouthful there, Gerry. I've been saying that about the herp community for decades. There is no reason for our "opponents" to divide and conquer......we can handle that ourselves, thanks. It has always amazed me that such a marginalized group of people can find so many things to disagree vehemently over, at the cost of being able to unite to get important things done.

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gbin
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by gbin » November 26th, 2013, 4:46 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:What to do? Here ya go:

:lol: and :cry:

What gets me the worst, Mark, is when people initiate a thread/propose an organization or program that's seemingly designed to unite us but is really just an attempt to codify our differences (elevating the particular faction those people belong to, of course), e.g. proposing an umbrella organization for the herp community that declares herp keepers aren't "herpers," etc. To say it's ridiculous is putting it mildly, too.

Anyway, back to the discussion at hand (sigh...).

Gerry

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Ribbit » November 26th, 2013, 6:49 am

gbin wrote:It appears that no one here is ever persuaded to change their views on this topic in the slightest, no matter how much they participate in discussion with those holding alternative views. Reasoned arguments or passionate pleas, everything seems like so much water off a duck's back. That makes it appear to be a futile exercise.

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.

John

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Brian Hubbs » November 26th, 2013, 7:29 am

Wow...that's amazing ribbit, and it gives us hope...but I am probably one of the people who usually comes across with too much emotion+condescension+certainty. Yeah, I know...my bad... :lol:

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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by hellihooks » November 26th, 2013, 8:04 am

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-)

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Kelly Mc » November 26th, 2013, 10:00 am

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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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by chris_mcmartin » November 26th, 2013, 2:36 pm

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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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Brian Hubbs » November 26th, 2013, 2:37 pm

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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Kelly Mc
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Re: Protection--a flawed policy

Post by Kelly Mc » November 26th, 2013, 2:59 pm

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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