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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 27th, 2011, 7:58 pm 

Joined: June 16th, 2010, 6:03 pm
Posts: 73
Phil Peak wrote:
I really like Van's take on this. Snakes are not porcelain dolls. Within this hobby is a growing contingent of herpers that have seemingly adopted a "hands off" policy that appears to be based upon emotional response rather than factual evidence that such intrusions are actually harmful.

Your statement about a "hands off" policy not being based upon factual evidence appears to not be based upon factual evidence.

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I completely agree that there are occasions when we should refrain from such activities. Heavily gravid snakes or those digesting large meals are examples of animals that I believe are best left unhandled unless there is a genuinely valid reason for doing so.

An excellent and relevant viewpoint to take, in my opinion. I'm sure many can agree with at least this much.

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All that being said, I must admit that I gain much personel satisfaction in occasionally picking up a wild snake. I enjoy the sensation I feel as it crawls through my hands and I appreciate the opportunity to examine it closely while admiring its beauty. And yes, I even appreciate the smell of the musk on my hands afterwards! To me its all part of my outdoor experience and something I take great pleasure in. Selfish perhaps, but God help me I love it!


No lie - I love it, too. I think we all do, and there's not a thing wrong with it. What I really call for is the consideration to think about our own actions, the motivations behind them, and all potential consequences before we do things. If everyone thought through everything they did in the field, I believe we'd all probably do something differently.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 28th, 2011, 5:08 am 
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Location: Terlingua / Marfa, Texas
Bobbleton wrote:
Sorry, when I said leaving them alone, I meant ACTUALLY leaving them alone. Not observing them. Not taking in-situ pics. Knowing they are there, and unless further participation is warranted, leaving them alone.
Wow, is that even even herping? Look, there's a snake! OK, stop looking now and leave. (Yep. I'm twisting your words again -I sometimes do that when it helps me make a point of have a laugh.)

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This is not meant to be a blanket statement, of course (which I'll get to).
Yeah, I didn't think you were literally advocating ignoring snakes, just as I'm not literally advocating kicking sand in their faces (though each extreme may occasionally be appropriate). I just used your comment as a convenient launch pad to respond to a general trend of extreme prejudice against "snake squeezers" (Van's term -I love it). Thanks and sorry!

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If what you mentioned does have merit, its all the more reason to consider every angle, though I'd be hard-pressed to be convinced handling could repeatedly have LESS impact on an animal than passively observing it (not counting busy roads :D ).
I'd certainly agree with that. Everything we do can POTENTIALLY have negative impact. Especially if taken to extremes. I just think that exaggerating or wildly imagining that potential impact (as I did on purpose for effect) and using that potential as a club to beat other herpers is problematic. As you stated, just try to "consider every angle" and apply your best and most honest judgment to each unique scenario. Then try to learn from and educate others WITHOUT assuming that they failed to consider the angles. They may have had an honest but different (not necessarily evil, irresponsible, or uninformed) consideration that led them to a different course of action.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 28th, 2011, 7:09 am 
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Ribbit wrote:
To get back to something pretty concrete, I still think that Gary Nafis’s ethics and etiquette page (http://www.californiaherps.com/info/fieldherpingethics.html) strikes a good balance between brevity and clarity.


I second that....or, going back through the whole thread, 7th it or whatever.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 28th, 2011, 7:34 am 

Joined: August 17th, 2011, 12:11 pm
Posts: 49
Location: The Herping Holy Land (Arizona)
The "hands off" theory is only acceptable if it is NOT forced upon everyone else. The "hands off" theory is a voluntary approach. The only problem is that many who advocate that approach DO try to force it upon others. Herping ethics should be a guide to improving our behavior while herping, not to eliminate herping. Too many here seem to think that the mere presence of human beings in wild areas is distasteful. Others advocate the idea that "science" should dictate everything, without the realization of all of the limits and shortcomings of science. I think it would help to see the historical and larger picture again, for perspective:

Before the days of Government involvement with wildlife, people could generally harvest whatever they wanted in whatever quantities they desired. This should work in theory if there are fewer people harvesting than natures capacity to replenish. Over time, people delegated their powers or rights to wildlife to governmental agencies. Most agencies that I have seen explain that the authority given to them was to ensure that wildlife could be managed in a way that it could be used by all, both current and future generations. This is what I mean by sustainable use. The value of wildlife to humans lies in its use. There are obviously many forms of use, from as intrusive as harvest to as benign as having a knowledge that there are populations of wildlife in the wild. I agree with you that captive animals are "dead" to natural wild populations. Natural wild populations, however, are not the primary purpose of wildlife laws. Wildlife laws are not animal rights laws, but rather human rights laws. They are to protect our long term rights to USE wildlife. The only reason that Governmental agencies have been delegated authority to manage the wildlife to begin with, is because in general there is often more demand than supply (at least when it comes to large game and fish). If populations are protected from use for a purpose that is not designed to protect and enhance our rights to use our wildlife resources in a way that is sustainable, then it is a perversion of the powers that have been delegated to the Government agencies that have been established.

So far I have only touched on philosophical reasoning. What you point out is that government agencies cannot tell how much use is sustainable use without information. This is a point that you make that I cannot argue against. You are absolutely right. The only problem is that this information, so far as I know, is not possible to discover in many cases. It is either too expensive, or in other ways impractical to determine how much harvest is sustainable. There are a few things, however, that can be discovered in order to make the best decision considering the information that is available. The number of people who wish to harvest can be calculated. The overall range of an animal can be roughly calculated. This information, amongst other simple to estimate information, can provide an initial basis to make a reasoned decision on whether the potential take will have any reasonable chance of exceeding sustainable use. It has to come down to judgement. An extreme position, in my opinion, would be to restrict all take in the absense of information. Just think of how the application of that idea would affect the rest of the natural world: We can't cut down a tree because we haven't been able to calculate if its use is sustainable, We can't walk into a natural area because we haven't performed studies on the bacteria carried in our shoes and how it might affect the habitat we are walking through, We can't plant farms to feed ourselves because we don't know if the elimination of plant and animal life on the potential farmland would be too much for wild plant and animal populations to handle, etc....

We cannot know all of these things for certain, but we have to make decisions in the absense of perfect information and keep our objectives in mind: long term sustainable use of wildlife. We have to have good judgement. Science can only help us so much. It is in the best interest of both people and wildlife if we really do have the goal of managing our wildlife so that is can be sustainably used.

How does any of this relate to herp ethics? The list that is being discussed looks like it is discussing more of a herp etiquette. There also seems to be some philosophical foundations. This is where my discussion comes in, I wish to represent the ideas that I have described above as an ethical viewpoint that should be represented to future generations of herpers that are to have their views "molded" by the existing herping community. I find it distasteful and unethical for herpers to try and take away human rights to use their wildlife resources. This is a disservice to both people and animals. People who do not know about herps will have no interest in ensuring their sustainable use. People cannot get to know the animals when they have no access to them and are not permitted to get to know them and enjoy them. This is the danger of protection(no use) vs conservation (wise use) in my opinion, and the damage it does in the long run. People will have to place value on wildlife resources in order to want to protect their habitat for themselves and future generations.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 28th, 2011, 8:00 am 
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Kudos, JDM- great summary!


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 28th, 2011, 9:49 am 
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Phil Peak wrote:
VanAR wrote:
I disagree that we are compelled to be overly cautious in the absence of specific data. There is an overwhelming abundance of inferential evidence that reptiles in general, and many snakes in particular, do not suffer significant consequences of stress as a result of human handling interactions. The millions (or more) of reptiles kept in captivity, both captive bred and wild caught, attest to this. There are few wild animals that so easily adapt to such a myriad of captive conditions that reptiles experience, let alone thrive as well as some snakes do. The idea that something like a milksnake is so fragile that a single interaction with a human might result in its death (as suggested in a current thread) is preposterous when one considers how easily even wild milksnakes can thrive in captivity, a highly unnatural, stressful, human-dominated environment.
Most importantly, is that reason enough to completely outlaw handling and proclaim that everyone who handles does so out of some childish need that they are unable to control? Can you be more arrogant than to make such wide-sweeping psychological presumptions simply because you disagree with how a different person gains satisfaction from something?


I really like Van's take on this. Snakes are not porcelain dolls. Within this hobby is a growing contingent of herpers that have seemingly adopted a "hands off" policy that appears to be based upon emotional response rather than factual evidence that such intrusions are actually harmful.

I completely agree that there are occasions when we should refrain from such activities. Heavily gravid snakes or those digesting large meals are examples of animals that I believe are best left unhandled unless there is a genuinely valid reason for doing so.

All that being said, I must admit that I gain much personel satisfaction in occasionally picking up a wild snake. I enjoy the sensation I feel as it crawls through my hands and I appreciate the opportunity to examine it closely while admiring its beauty. And yes, I even appreciate the smell of the musk on my hands afterwards! To me its all part of my outdoor experience and something I take great pleasure in. Selfish perhaps, but God help me I love it!

Phil



can i get an A-men?

phil, you hit it on the head. i really like the porcelain dolls thought. this is what i've been trying to say. i've done it in other threads as well as this one.

is handling unethical? i'm not leaning that way. there is no way we will ever handle them out of existence. they will adjust. is the fact that this adjustment may be caused by us wrong? i think no. if you think yes, then the only option i see is to just stay home. the possibility that your being there may alter behavior is reason alone to not go at all. we will never fathom all the influences that we/nature have on snake behavior. the only thing that handling will do is make the snakes more afraid of us. they will seek cover quickly. in my opinion, that helped them.

i'm going to go off on a tangent now. i request this observational info from all who can supply it. send it only in a PM to me. i'm trying to make a point that will help in this thread.

those of you who have a lot of experience with bull snakes please respond.

when first encountered, do they stay put, or take off? if they stay put, do they immediately go into hissing/coiling or do they just lie there hoping you don't see them?

please mention your state as well.

thanks in advance.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 28th, 2011, 10:35 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
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Location: Hesperia, California.
JDM wrote:


How does any of this relate to herp ethics? The list that is being discussed looks like it is discussing more of a herp etiquette. There also seems to be some philosophical foundations. This is where my discussion comes in, I wish to represent the ideas that I have described above as an ethical viewpoint that should be represented to future generations of herpers that are to have their views "molded" by the existing herping community. I find it distasteful and unethical for herpers to try and take away human rights to use their wildlife resources. This is a disservice to both people and animals. People who do not know about herps will have no interest in ensuring their sustainable use. People cannot get to know the animals when they have no access to them and are not permitted to get to know them and enjoy them. This is the danger of protection(no use) vs conservation (wise use) in my opinion, and the damage it does in the long run. People will have to place value on wildlife resources in order to want to protect their habitat for themselves and future generations.


Your choice of the 'Utilitarian stance' is probably the most rational and applicable stance that could be employed. It's basically a cost/benefit analysis that each of us either consciously or sub-consciously makes when faced with 'ethical' decisions in the field, and translates well to the hobby/avocation at large.
It's actually the one I use... from pg 12...

I rate the welfare of the herp species, whether individually, or as a species at large, as more important than my personal wants or desires.
I determine that the 'Utilitarian' perspective is most apt, when considering what's 'best' for a species lacking the capacity for abstract thought required for self-determination.... Thus...That which produces the greatest amount of positive utility, for either an individual of, or for the species at large, is ethical.
My example...
I collect a small glossy for use in my 'Local Reptile Educational Talks' I use the snake in these talks to teach people that they are not dangerous, but rather, beneficial (as adults) in rodent control, and should be left alone, rather than summarily dispatched, when encountered. After my lecture series conclude for the year, I can either keep the glossy, to be used in following years, gift it out to a good home, or use it as a feeder, for a kingsnake.
In any of those circumstances, I feel that the negative utility suffered by the individual is far outweighed by the positive utility garnered for the species at large.
Even from an individual standpoint, the chances of any individual yoy making it to adult reproductive age is problematic at best... in captivity, they are (ideally) well-fed and free from predation, and typically live longer that their wild brethren. Even if used as a feeder... the educational value they provided outweighs the 50/50 possibility that they could have survived in the wild.


The goal however, is to get folks to consider these things BEFORE they hit the field. :thumb: jim


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 28th, 2011, 2:25 pm 
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I understand what you're saying. But you're also referring to animals that live in an environment that almost literally forces them to survive. Really what would a healthy snake have to do to NOT survive when correctly kept? No one is saying human interaction literally stresses them to death - but these snakes (there are other herps, that don't fit anywhere near the comparison) don't live in 2-foot area that always has a hide, a warm spot, fresh water, and a dead mouse once a week. .


To not survive in captivity, a snake could be stressed to the point that it didn't eat, didn't drink, or that immune function (or some other physiological mechanism) was compromised. We see this pretty commonly when many vertebrates are brought into captivity- especially birds and mammals. Also, just because all of those beneficial aspects of captivity are present doesn't mean that a snake placed in a cage automatically benefits from them. Because snakes are not stressed to the point of injury in captivity, its reasonable to suspect that their tolerance to stress is quite high.

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These animals evolved complex behaviors and unique physiology because they wouldn't survive without them. Its literally the ONLY driving force behind animal behavior (you assume potentially disrupting this behavior has no ill effects and I'M arrogant?)


That's a very circular argument. The diversity of behavior and physiology in snakes (especially among closely-related species) actually argues the opposite- there are many strategies they can take that are evolutionarily stable. The variation of behavior and physiology even across populations within single species (especially the widespread species) suggests that these traits are actually highly plastic with environment, and possibly evolutionarily labile. While snakes do have complex behaviors, their ability to adapt to novel situations and conditions is pretty amazing for a vertebrate. If it wasn't, they'd have died out in disturbed habitat long ago, but in many cases, they actually do much BETTER in disturbed habitat than in pristine. Though I disagree somewhat with his methods, Phil has been making this argument for years based off of repeated observations at tin sites. Other examples include FL kingsnakes in the canefields, and tiger rattlesnakes on AZ golf courses.

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Comparing the correlation between human interaction/survival in captive vs. wild herps is RIDICULOUS. And while your point about the fragile milksnake is probably spot on (and would be the case with MANY herps), that is certainly NOT always the case. The scariest part is that we genuinely don't know the extent of our effects on the majority of these animals. I maintain that erring on this side of caution is the best route (for the animals), and have yet to be convinced otherwise, so we must disagree on this.


I never said the milk example applied to all species- certainly some are likely to be more fragile than others. That said, why is it so ridiculous to compare captive herps to wild? The genetic basis of their behavior/physiology is exactly the same, so if they are so tightly evolved to a single set of environmental conditions (as you suggested earlier), how is it possible for them to survive in captivity? Erring on the side of caution will certainly not harm the animals (nobody is *seriously* suggesting that it is, aside from educational benefits), and I think that is a very valid way to go about your herping. The argument here isn't necessarily about herping hands-on or hands-off, but specifically whether hands-on is harmful enough that it should be something to be avoided.

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I agree completely. I have been and am currently participating in several such studies. I understand that there are impacts on the animals involved in not only the surgeries, but the repeated visits to them as well. That having been said, I am of the opinion that such disturbances are necessary - with the idea in mind that the knowledge gained (and there's often more to learn) can and will be utilized to protect that species and the things it requires to survive.


Glad we agree that disturbance is necessary for research, but let me be honest. I am a researcher first, herper second, but I'm not arguing here to justify my research methods to anyone. My arguments here are not about justifying herping methods, either. My arguments here are against people getting verbally (and sometimes confrontationally) harassed for doing something that some people disagree with, yet has not been shown to be valid.

Quote:
However, herping (in whatever sense) does not fall into that category, and data collection requires the minimal disturbance possible to determine presence.


I'm not personally arguing from an NAFHA standpoint. Not sure how the differences between NAFHA and regular herping will fall out, but I could see good reasons for there being different standards, particularly given federal regulations on animal research.

Quote:
We're also talking about a research team concentrating on a population vs. every herper on the continent concentrating on EVERY population he/she knows about. I know there are lots of researchers, but its not even close.


And one of the first rules of posting on FHF already is not to post locality information, which is the biggest thing we can do to minimize herper impacts, IMO. Also, how many herpers are there? How many herping locations are there? Certainly, some species/populations are again more sensitive than others, but old discussions about the impact of roadcruise-based collection methods on certain species seem applicable here. For many (if not most) herps, there is far more suitable habitat than there is herper-accessible habitat.

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Could you clarify this?


Yeah, there's been a lot of talk about disturbed snakes "disappearing" from sites of disturbance. People have interpreted that disappearance as being due to death, abandonment, reduced reproduction, and better crypsis. Abandonment and crypsis have been further interpreted as negatively correlated with thermoregulatory ability and/or foraging success, with resulting negative effects on survival, growth, and reproduction. That's a whole lot of speculation based on the simple observation that one day, someone saw a snake was in a rock crevice, but that person never saw that snake in that rock crevice on any subsequent day.

My point was that there is no evidence that the human disturbance caused a chain reaction leading directly to the animal's death. All that happened was that the snake was no longer at that site. By those two observations alone, one cannot A) know what happened to the snake, and B) know what action was responsible for what happened to the snake. Instead, I point to inferential evidence from radiotelemetry (again, using snakes that are FAR more disturbed) that the snake probably did move, or used better crypsis, but was just fine and likely did return to that same site again without the observer's knowledge.

Quote:
However, I made no wide-sweeping psychological presumptions - in fact I directed my statement quite specifically; it was not about all who handle and there was really nothing wide-sweeping about it. And I certainly don't retract my statement - you're exactly right. Those rationales i mentioned = childish need.


Calling people you disagree with children (and thereby suggesting that they can't control themselves) isn't a psychological presumption? How do you know why they handle herps?

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Call it what you want, call me what you want. But when you are interacting with a herp for ANY reason other than for its own benefit - its selfish. You are doing it for yourself. I do it. We all do it. But to call it something other than selfish is deluded.


I never said it wasn't selfish, but who ever said selfish was a horribly evil thing? Breathing and consuming resources that could be used by others sounds pretty darn selfish to me, as does every recreational activity out there. Crapping out kids, driving cars, and otherwise destroying/polluting the heck out of the planet seems pretty selfish too (and far greater impactful to herp survival, IMO), but just about everyone here is or will be doing those things, or be complicit to them.

Van


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 28th, 2011, 5:11 pm 
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I want to affirm Van's assertion that there are lots of things that, if we gave up as a whole, would have a greater positive impact on wildlife and the environment than giving up the handling of herps. Those things include a car, a home on a large plot of land, consumption of farmed beef and other high-land-resource foods, and the extremely high levels of energy and resource consumption that North Americans enjoy.

I'm not saying that handling of herps can't be judged on its own merits in isolation of those other things. But if you're going to judge someone as "selfish" for engaging in that activity when you yourself aren't wiling to take meaningful, selfless steps in other areas of your life, you're being more than a little judgmental.

(And yes, giving up your cars, living on a plot of land more comparable to what most of the world owns, not eating high-land-resource foods, and in general not consuming at the American level are all realistic steps if you really care enough.)

So to get back to the subject, I think that we can discuss the actual positive and negative effects of handling wild herps, and try to talk about how we weigh those benefits and what we want to suggest to other herpers, without making negative personal attacks regarding each others' values.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 28th, 2011, 6:56 pm 
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Jonathan, VanAR, JDM, Daryl Eby, Phil Peak and Jim, you guys can all go take a flying :lol: :lol: No just kidding. I'm very impressed with all your posts these past few days. Good job. :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 29th, 2011, 7:35 am 

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I actually didn't get to finish what I wanted to say, in reply to JDM yesterday (had to go to work) The focus in these discussions seem to gravitate towards making 'value judgments' on certain behaviors... handling, collecting, posing, ect...with the term 'ethical' synonymous with 'right', with the goal being deciding which behaviors are justifiable.

Problem is... what's 'right' for one person, seems wrong to another, because we hold different perspectives, motivations and priorities. Rather than argue the merits of given behaviors, I would suggest that the goal of 'Ethical Guidelines' should be to get people to examine WHY they think things are either right or wrong, by an ongoing process of self-examination.

Since 'philosophical' terms seem to do nothing but make folks want to 'tune out'... I thought I might try this with some psychological terms that might be more accessible, regarding self-actualization and personal growth. Those terms are 'Id' (basic wants and desires) 'Ego' (constraints on the Id that allow people to function in society) Super-Ego (development of etiquette that allows us to function 'well') and the Ideal-ego (placing 'Ideals' above all other motivations)

It is exactly when these motivations collide, that we need 'ethics'. By way of example, yesterday I flipped a juvie Skiltons Skink. I wanted to catch it, (Id) because I really like these skinks, with their bright blue tails, their quickness and smooth scalation, ect. But they drop their tails SO readily, and the possibility of that happening was not worth me getting to hold it and trying to get a bunch of 'great shots' of it, for either data collection (Ego) or the 'kudos' I might get for getting 'great shots' of a hard to photograph herp.(Super-ego)
So I went for the 'ideal' of an insitu shot (as flipped. actually... :roll: )... and got ONE shot, before the skink vanished....
Image
I returned the Skink's 'home' to it's original sealed condition, and am satisfied on all counts that I behaved as 'ethically' as possible in this situation, and consider it a great herping encounter... :D
Depending on what your overarching motivations for being in the field, on any given day, are (observation, data, photos, ect) and the always different circumstances of each encounter, one must always make these motivational cost/benefit analyses on the spot, and it's much easier to do when one has given it some thought beforehand.

THAT'S the goal of 'Ethics'... to get people to look at themselves...before they hit the field... not to argue endlessly over what's 'right' or 'wrong'... :) jim


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 29th, 2011, 10:29 pm 
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Here's an interesting and related experimental result I just saw today.

Apparently, it's possible that even mere exposure (sight and smell) to predators can significantly affect the survival rates of dragonflies and dragonfly larvae, even when the predators never touch them:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45081079/ns ... qztWPQg8ZU


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 29th, 2011, 11:27 pm 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 8:09 pm
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Interesting. My first thought was that the larvae died due to poor water quality with all the fish in with them; aka a poorly controled experiment. Unfounded I know, but stuff I'd look for if reading the actual paper versus an article about a paper.
But of course we see this all the time. Captive herps experience stress, especially wild caught captives. They don't do as well, and simple things like minor parasite loads are allowed to take over and cause disease.

To relate to our discussion here, in lacking actual science with herps, anecdotally we apparently have a lot of species in which our presence doesn't seem to cause much of a lasting effect. However just as well, certain species may be much more prone to adverse effects of a human encounter. Inexperienced as I am, I'm not the one to say which is which.

Ian


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 31st, 2011, 7:13 am 

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A little stress is good...Chronic stress is bad... DUHHHHHH. :roll: jim


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 31st, 2011, 9:07 am 

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Hi Jim, I have to ask, what makes you sure you returned its home like it was? You see, this is again another point that is not clear. While its like it was to you, what is its home like to the skink? That is the question.

Lets get all anthro and use you as an example. What if one of those mars attacks bubble heads were 150 feet tall and one peeled up your roof, either grabbed you or not, then put the roof back? What would your gut feeling be? I ask this because I believe rational doe not apply, gut feelings do.

Would you "FEEL" safe back in your house? Would you be normal behaviorally?

This is the exactly the question, some folks here would run off as fast and as far as they can. Other folks here would look around not see that giant mars bubblehead and go back in and look around. Some of those would stay, other that went back in would not stay. Etc.

The responce your feeling is FLIGHT. your attacked and you take flight. That is a very common responce with animals, reptiles included. The flight response is followed by finding a safe shelter. Again a common behavior with herps.

How extreme the flight response is, depends on the severity of the encounter. And the frequency of the encounters. Of course as mentioned, there are species differences as well, and also habitat differences.

What I hope some of you do is TEST this, That is how I learned, and how most of you SHOULD learn. but sadly most do not want to test anything, they want to go by what suits them.

You can test this in many many ways. After all, most of your are already interfering with the animals, so all that can come from testing is a better understanding.

I have tested this for many years under many conditions, but the most extensive is our 18 year study of C.willardi and C.lepidus, sanctioned by the state and permitted. We tagged hundreds upon hundreds of these two species and recorded their movements. Of interest I watched this site for many years before we began the tag and release study. The great part is, was also observed individuals that were not interfered with.

I also am doing longterm observations of gilas and diamondbacks, over 30 years and going, its non invasive, or no contact what so ever.

If I were a betting man and I am not, I would bet in the next 10 to 15 years, you will see studies that are very sensitive to interference. Best wishes


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 31st, 2011, 9:14 am 
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I would normally leave this one alone...

...but do you really think the animal thinks... oh crap... my roof has been ripped of... what do I do if that alien comes back...?

At the same time I have found that if you turn a rock too often the animals will abandon that particular spot.

Retes wrote:
Hi Jim, I have to ask, what makes you sure you returned its home like it was? You see, this is again another point that is not clear. While its like it was to you, what is its home like to the skink? That is the question.

Lets get all anthro and use you as an example. What if one of those mars attacks bubble heads were 150 feet tall and one peeled up your roof, either grabbed you or not, then put the roof back? What would your gut feeling be? I ask this because I believe rational doe not apply, gut feelings do.

Would you "FEEL" safe back in your house? Would you be normal behaviorally?

This is the exactly the question, some folks here would run off as fast and as far as they can. Other folks here would look around not see that giant mars bubblehead and go back in and look around. Some of those would stay, other that went back in would not stay. Etc.

The responce your feeling is FLIGHT. your attacked and you take flight. That is a very common responce with animals, reptiles included. The flight response is followed by finding a safe shelter. Again a common behavior with herps.

How extreme the flight response is, depends on the severity of the encounter. And the frequency of the encounters. Of course as mentioned, there are species differences as well, and also habitat differences.

What I hope some of you do is TEST this, That is how I learned, and how most of you SHOULD learn. but sadly most do not want to test anything, they want to go by what suits them.

You can test this in many many ways. After all, most of your are already interfering with the animals, so all that can come from testing is a better understanding.

I have tested this for many years under many conditions, but the most extensive is our 18 year study of C.willardi and C.lepidus, sanctioned by the state and permitted. We tagged hundreds upon hundreds of these two species and recorded their movements. Of interest I watched this site for many years before we began the tag and release study. The great part is, was also observed individuals that were not interfered with.

I also am doing longterm observations of gilas and diamondbacks, over 30 years and going, its non invasive, or no contact what so ever.

If I were a betting man and I am not, I would bet in the next 10 to 15 years, you will see studies that are very sensitive to interference. Best wishes


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: October 31st, 2011, 9:55 am 

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The skink was under an 8' 4x4, along with this..
Image
With this big boy living under some 4x8 ply bout 5 ft away...
Image
Seems his 'home' and neighborhood wasn't that safe to begin with... :shock: PERHAPS I did him a favor... if he bailed cause I 'scared' him... :roll: Comes a point, if you're gonna herp and collect data, that some intrusion is required...I wouldn't have seen any of those guys if I had just walked by and said..."Hmmm... I bet there's some herps under that wood" :roll: I re-sealed the ac as best I could and left the skink to handle the vicissitudes of life on his own. And BTW...I am a product of Nature, doing what comes naturally to me... fulfilling desires and employing my more developed 'cognitive abilities' to not only find hidden herps, but to then leave them largely unmolested. :D jim


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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2011, 1:39 pm 
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Greetings!

We are getting the roundtable together for Herp Nation LIVE, hosted by Dan Krull.

Anyone who wishes to participate, please confirm the following with me by thursday....

1) Available from Noon-1pm (pacific time zone), Sunday November 6th
2) You have a telephone. (land line preferred)
3) Participated in this discussion here on the forum already, and wish to be a part of a continued structured discussion.

We will accomodate approx. 10 guests on this first of what we assume will be many shows on this topic. If you're interested, send me an email at [email protected] dot com

thanks,
scott waters


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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2011, 1:50 pm 
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Why did you attach this to this post? kinda odd?

Me... [email protected] 7704598387





Scott Waters wrote:
Greetings!

We are getting the roundtable together for Herp Nation LIVE, hosted by Dan Krull.

Anyone who wishes to participate, please confirm the following with me by thursday....

1) Available from Noon-1pm (pacific time zone), Sunday November 6th
2) You have a telephone. (land line preferred)
3) Participated in this discussion here on the forum already, and wish to be a part of a continued structured discussion.

We will accomodate approx. 10 guests on this first of what we assume will be many shows on this topic. If you're interested, send me an email at [email protected] dot com

thanks,
scott waters


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2011, 8:51 pm 
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Quote:
Why did you attach this to this post? kinda odd?


We are hosting discussion on HNL, and I am inviting people to participate who are involved in this thread. Giving everyone plenty of opportunity and time to see the invitation. Seems spot-on to me, and not odd at all.

scott


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2011, 12:02 pm 
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For those who've agreed to come on the roundtable this sunday, I'll get you the call-in number via email or PM.

thanks,
scott


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: November 4th, 2011, 12:30 pm 
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Jim, here's the jewel, buried among all your words and sentences in this thread.

hellihooks wrote:

THAT'S the goal of 'Ethics'... to get people to look at themselves...before they hit the field... not to argue endlessly over what's 'right' or 'wrong'... :) jim


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2011, 4:46 pm 

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Mike Pingleton wrote:
Jim, here's the jewel, buried among all your words and sentences in this thread.

hellihooks wrote:

THAT'S the goal of 'Ethics'... to get people to look at themselves...before they hit the field... not to argue endlessly over what's 'right' or 'wrong'... :) jim

Thx Mike.
It's basically what I've been saying from the start... :roll: :lol: :lol: jim


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2011, 6:30 pm 

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Hi Jim, yes that sentence is very good, but it does not define what this particular "ethics" are.

For one, folks here will accept ethics, but will not define them. Like what the heck is interference, and at what point or what conditions is there a negative effect on the animals, or the land, or other people.

But I agree, ethics do not DEMAND or TELL people what to do, instead these ethics should allow each person to think and determine the best course of action, at that time, what that animal.

Sadly without defining what those parameters are, theres nothing to think about. Cheers


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2011, 8:37 pm 
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For everyone who is participating on Sunday, the line-up is set! Gonna be a great discussion! Will post sunday night.

thanks,
scott


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PostPosted: November 6th, 2011, 3:46 pm 
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Enthralling stuff. I suppose the most ethical of herpers might well be the people that sit on their couches and never get outside? :roll:

Nature can and does get loved to death, that is where regulation and law comes in. Just as with hunting or fishing perhaps 'if it's legal it's ethical' might apply. Fly fishing has been hit with this sort of division over the years with purests demanding everyone do as they do. The most reasonable solution is the prevailing legal standard IMO, and obviously the regulations changed as required in the true interest of the resource.

In the end, the more people interested in the animals, the more protection they and their environment will receive.


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PostPosted: November 6th, 2011, 4:24 pm 

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Bob wrote:
Enthralling stuff. I suppose the most ethical of herpers might well be the people that sit on their couches and never get outside? :roll:

Nature can and does get loved to death, that is where regulation and law comes in. Just as with hunting or fishing perhaps 'if it's legal it's ethical' might apply. Fly fishing has been hit with this sort of division over the years with purests demanding everyone do as they do. The most reasonable solution is the prevailing legal standard IMO, and obviously the regulations changed as required in the true interest of the resource.

In the end, the more people interested in the animals, the more protection they and their environment will receive.


Yeah... I've never been able to see my way to going fly fishing, with barbless hooks, for catch and release. So I always go fishing where I can take my fish home and eat them... :D

"In the end, the more people interested in the animals, the more protection they and their environment will receive"

I would settle for 'the more consideration they and their environment will receive'... :thumb: jim


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PostPosted: November 6th, 2011, 5:37 pm 
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You sir are a barbarian! :mrgreen:

Quote:
I would settle for 'the more consideration they and their environment will receive'... :thumb:


I follow what is happening in India's conservation spheres having grown up there, and have seen how interest in wild animals and places has grown exponentially over the past forty odd years. The number of protected areas is increasing each year and as such so are wildlife populations. Sadly it takes some rather draconian measures compared to what we must do here in the US, and it does require keeping people out of certain areas period, including eco-tourists from with in India and from overseas. A prime example of loving nature to death. And incredibly many people have stopped killing every snake on sight, just as many here have.

Taking the tiger as an example, the populations in may areas such as the Western Ghats are rising as are the populations of prey species as habitat is protected even under such population pressures. All due to increased interest in nature as living standards rise. Make no mistake there is a lot to do on many fronts, but it's very encouraging.


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PostPosted: November 6th, 2011, 6:53 pm 

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Nice Input, Bob... :thumb:
I recall seeing programs (discovery?) about a reptile rescuer in India, (I think) and a certain tribe of snakehunters who have switched to collecting for venom production, rather than for the 'Snake Charmers' and now make more $, take better care of the cobras, and return them to the wild, after some 'use'. Did I get that all right? If so... very Cool! jim


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PostPosted: November 7th, 2011, 7:59 am 
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hellihooks wrote:
Nice Input, Bob... :thumb:
I recall seeing programs (discovery?) about a reptile rescuer in India, (I think) and a certain tribe of snakehunters who have switched to collecting for venom production, rather than for the 'Snake Charmers' and now make more $, take better care of the cobras, and return them to the wild, after some 'use'. Did I get that all right? If so... very Cool! jim



Yup, that's Rom Whitaker's work with the Irula's just outside Chennai (Madras in my time there). The Irula's are the traditional snake (and other animal) hunters of Tamil Nadu. Used to be we could go down to the market in Madras and buy cobra skins, live sand grouse, live lizards and chameleons ...all sorts of things from them.

Rom was several years ahead of me at school in Kodai and I have never met him personally.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: November 7th, 2011, 8:23 am 

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Hi Jim, my next comment is about how we think and how it seeps into how we view wildlife.

In this case you said it was great that india's snake charmers were now milking cobras and releasing them back into nature.

I have to wonder how good that is.

There are two worlds clashing here, ours and the snakes.

Most people I see think its fine to catch snakes play with them take them home(out of their enviornment) then return them. The herpers feelings are sadisfied because they returned the snake.

The other world is, the snakes world, what occurs when a snake is removed, How does that effect the individual removed and the ones not removed?

We know that snakes have territorial displays, we know they are territorial. So how does that work? This is the problem I have. I watch these animals in nature, and their system of exsistance is not simple, its much like most other animals. Their behavior is complex and consistant.

For example, a certain percentage of individuals in a population are SAFE, that is, they have found a set of conditions where they have a very high percentage chance of a long productive life. For instance, dens and congregations, often include very old individuals. These individuals are reproductively successful to a very old age.

To be truthful, this percentage may only be about 20 percent of the population on average years. The rest of the population experience various degrees of recruiting success, down to transients.

Transients are individuals that get bumped from area to area and are more or less homeless. This group consists mainly of subadult or compromised males. This group is what is most often encounter crawling in the open and crossing roads.

The point I keep trying to make is, some parts of each population is more sensitive to interference then others. Its simple to deduct between the two parts I just mentioned. Transients are not a part of the reproductive segment of a population. Therefore, theres little to no harm done by interfering with them.

Consider, transient individuals strive to become resident individuals.

Theoretically speaking, what do you think occurs when a resident is removed?

Then what do you think occurs when its returned?

Then consider what that snake is going through from the process of being milked?

Do you really think a individual snake will simply return to where it was, and do what it would have been doing, after being removed and milked????????????

Of course this is a very simple outline. Its far more complicated then this. And this is just an example.

So I ask you, if you understand these animals have behavior, where do you think it stops and starts?

Jim, you are so very complicated and intracate when it comes to ethics, but your so very shallow when it comes to reptile behavior. Please think about that.

After all, its the ethics that are suppose to lessen the impact on the animals, and more precisely, their behavior. Best wishes


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PostPosted: November 7th, 2011, 9:24 am 

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I (sadly) think Frank, that you have become a bit myopic, and need to occasionally try to step back and see the big picture. The Irula used to provide cobras for the skin and meat trade and to snake charmers, who would pull their fangs, and use them till they died. Now.. they take the snakes to a facility that milks them for a while, (for antivenin production) and returns them to the Irula for release. (correct me anyone, if that's off)
It should be obvious that one paradigm is better than the other, and I applaud the improvement ... never said it was ideal.
This speaks to 'sustainable use', which we focused on in the first 'ethics roundtable' (where were you?) and when it comes out, you'll see that I voiced some ideas that are very similar to yours, in regard to the loss of "very old individuals. These individuals are reproductively successful to a very old age" in the Rattlesnake Roundup model. Granted... my concerns were more towards reproductive viability rather than the individual snake's 'feelings' :roll: but....
I don't know that I've ever before been accused of being 'shallow'...as I, like my namesake, prefer 'deep structure'... :crazyeyes: :D jim


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PostPosted: November 7th, 2011, 9:59 am 
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The 'big picture' in the case of Irula's is that their centuries old way of life was restored/preserved and tens of thousands of human lives are saved through their efforts. For those not familiar with Indian culture it very hard for people to move from their set place in Indian society to another...they could not simply become farmers because their is no land for instance. These are societies formed over thousands of years and it's more than a bit arrogant for some western snake lover to condemn them to a life in the city doing menial labor because they are more worried about a snake being relocated.

One HAS to have the locals on board to make any progress in the conservation field. In this case it is win win for all involved.


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PostPosted: November 7th, 2011, 11:36 am 
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Retes wrote:
Hi Jim, my next comment is about how we think and how it seeps into how we view wildlife.

In this case you said it was great that india's snake charmers were now milking cobras and releasing them back into nature.

I have to wonder how good that is.

There are two worlds clashing here, ours and the snakes.

Most people I see think its fine to catch snakes play with them take them home(out of their enviornment) then return them. The herpers feelings are sadisfied because they returned the snake.

The other world is, the snakes world, what occurs when a snake is removed, How does that effect the individual removed and the ones not removed?

We know that snakes have territorial displays, we know they are territorial. So how does that work? This is the problem I have. I watch these animals in nature, and their system of exsistance is not simple, its much like most other animals. Their behavior is complex and consistant.

For example, a certain percentage of individuals in a population are SAFE, that is, they have found a set of conditions where they have a very high percentage chance of a long productive life. For instance, dens and congregations, often include very old individuals. These individuals are reproductively successful to a very old age.

To be truthful, this percentage may only be about 20 percent of the population on average years. The rest of the population experience various degrees of recruiting success, down to transients.

Transients are individuals that get bumped from area to area and are more or less homeless. This group consists mainly of subadult or compromised males. This group is what is most often encounter crawling in the open and crossing roads.

The point I keep trying to make is, some parts of each population is more sensitive to interference then others. Its simple to deduct between the two parts I just mentioned. Transients are not a part of the reproductive segment of a population. Therefore, theres little to no harm done by interfering with them.

Consider, transient individuals strive to become resident individuals.

Theoretically speaking, what do you think occurs when a resident is removed?

Then what do you think occurs when its returned?

Then consider what that snake is going through from the process of being milked?

Do you really think a individual snake will simply return to where it was, and do what it would have been doing, after being removed and milked????????????

Of course this is a very simple outline. Its far more complicated then this. And this is just an example.

So I ask you, if you understand these animals have behavior, where do you think it stops and starts?

Jim, you are so very complicated and intracate when it comes to ethics, but your so very shallow when it comes to reptile behavior. Please think about that.

After all, its the ethics that are suppose to lessen the impact on the animals, and more precisely, their behavior. Best wishes


Transient individuals in nature are the pioneers as well as the replacements/displacers of the resident populations. I'd argue that they serve just as a valuable service to their species in terms of genetic variation and survival of the fittest. Nature is far more resilient than many people think. Obviously if a breeder is removed, then given a population is viable (enough transients), it is replaced.


So where DOES it stop and start?


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PostPosted: November 7th, 2011, 11:37 am 
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Retes wrote:
In this case you said it was great that india's snake charmers were now milking cobras and releasing them back into nature.

I have to wonder how good that is.

There are two worlds clashing here, ours and the snakes.


I believe there are more than two worlds clashing here, and I think that you've missed one of the more significant ones when you bundle everything up into "ours".


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PostPosted: November 9th, 2011, 5:27 pm 
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http://www.herpnation.com/herp-nation-l ... ng-ethics/


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wow... That's taken this topic to an interesting level...

Scott Waters wrote:
http://www.herpnation.com/herp-nation-live/herp-nation-live-herping-ethics/


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Scott Waters wrote:
http://www.herpnation.com/herp-nation-live/herp-nation-live-herping-ethics/



Being a new guy to this forum I hope my input is welcomed and I hope I can put this in a way that it is accepted in the way it is meant. I am in no way defending round ups nor am I a commercial guy.

I found the discussion very interesting and what struck me is how morals and ethics were covered. This all seems very inside baseball to some extent, in that herps as a resource really belong to the public at large as part of the larger wildlife population. Morals and ethics are two different beasts, morals being the established rights and wrongs in the view of 'the group' and ethics is expressing or teaching those principles. Obviously different groups and individuals have different 'morals' when it comes to how a resource is used or if it used at all (PETA). Things get sticky when attempts are made to impose morals on other people (outside of the rule of law...which has to be the final standard in a civilized society). When a user group or person, which is what we all are including the scientists, tries to impose morals (far different than expressing or teaching which I hope IS the case here) to the rest of the population it runs the risk of both unintended consequences and the more extreme members of that group exerting inequitable influence. After all the dynamics of group structure always leads down a path away from moderation unless there are controls in place to curb this law of human nature...controls which also serve to protect the group from crawling up it's own ass so to speak. When that happens the group splinters and it's effectiveness is greatly diminished. In that case the big picture/resource is not best served perhaps?

IMO the focus MUST be on what results in sustainable populations (especially habitat protection) rather than one sector against another when so much is yet to done at the basic level. Yes, I'm a 'big tenter'. :beer:


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PostPosted: November 10th, 2011, 3:21 pm 

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Yes, I agree. If a commercial collector hits a spot...even regularly...they can do a lot of damage but may miss a few (whether accident or deliberate), if the spot is 'eliminated' from having any herps by a modification of the whole ecosystem, this has to be worse, and needs to be a top priority for any herper or why else herp? Personally i don't care for collectors but I've seen worse. Sometimes 'the devil you know' is better than the devil you don't know. Hunters, herpers, hikers, and farmers all need the same thing. Developers and real estate agents need something else.


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PostPosted: November 10th, 2011, 3:43 pm 
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Another... wow... totally different point of view. I'll be surprised if you don't get your head bit off. My first thought is that you are a deer hunter... or a hunter in general... game hunter... redneck...

I like the point of view.



Bob wrote:
Scott Waters wrote:
http://www.herpnation.com/herp-nation-live/herp-nation-live-herping-ethics/



Being a new guy to this forum I hope my input is welcomed and I hope I can put this in a way that it is accepted in the way it is meant. I am in no way defending round ups nor am I a commercial guy.

I found the discussion very interesting and what struck me is how morals and ethics were covered. This all seems very inside baseball to some extent, in that herps as a resource really belong to the public at large as part of the larger wildlife population. Morals and ethics are two different beasts, morals being the established rights and wrongs in the view of 'the group' and ethics is expressing or teaching those principles. Obviously different groups and individuals have different 'morals' when it comes to how a resource is used or if it used at all (PETA). Things get sticky when attempts are made to impose morals on other people (outside of the rule of law...which has to be the final standard in a civilized society). When a user group or person, which is what we all are including the scientists, tries to impose morals (far different than expressing or teaching which I hope IS the case here) to the rest of the population it runs the risk of both unintended consequences and the more extreme members of that group exerting inequitable influence. After all the dynamics of group structure always leads down a path away from moderation unless there are controls in place to curb this law of human nature...controls which also serve to protect the group from crawling up it's own ass so to speak. When that happens the group splinters and it's effectiveness is greatly diminished. In that case the big picture/resource is not best served perhaps?

IMO the focus MUST be on what results in sustainable populations (especially habitat protection) rather than one sector against another when so much is yet to done at the basic level. Yes, I'm a 'big tenter'. :beer:


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PostPosted: November 10th, 2011, 4:07 pm 
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In case anyone missed it. Approximately 30 minutes in length. Guests include Chad Whitney, Jim Bass, Mike Pingleton, Bryan Hamilton, and Chris Smith. Hosted HNL's Dan Krull. Great discussion, and we look forward to another roundtable as we progress in this conversation.

scott



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PostPosted: November 10th, 2011, 4:24 pm 

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Money generally always trumps 'morals', from the macro to the micro scale (bulldozers dozing to baby snakes going 'cha-ching' when they hit the bottom of the collectors bag.) principally because 'greed' and 'competitiveness' are some of the most difficult of our baser instincts to overcome.... :roll:
Bob... are you confusing 'morals' with mores (the fixed morally binding customs of a particular group). Sadly, most people use the terms 'moral' and 'ethics' synonymously, when moral should be used as an adjective (morally) instead of a noun, and the noun 'ethics' is way too often used as an adjective (ethically). :roll:
I also disagree that "dynamics of group structure always leads down a path away from moderation..." as a "law of human nature."
Verily, what with 'folkways, mores,and taboos" working towards a moderation in group dynamics, I would further suggest that the 'deviants' in society serve to strengthen group dynamics towards moderation. (ask Frankenstein :lol: )

Towards a 'moderation' in accessibility, I now offer for all, a 'Sociological Joke' which I wrote, and performed while in a Sociology Class, as the confirmed and unrepentant 'class clown' I have always been.
Professor: 'Give an example of a 'Cultural Norm'."
Me: "It's when the fat guy walks into Cheers, and everyone yells 'NORM!!'".... :roll: :D jim

BTW... I worked as a commercial collector, back in the 70's and might be able to detail what I considered 'ethical guidelines' for that archetype.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: November 10th, 2011, 5:32 pm 
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hellihooks wrote:
Money generally always trumps 'morals', from the macro to the micro scale (bulldozers dozing to baby snakes going 'cha-ching' when they hit the bottom of the collectors bag.) principally because 'greed' and 'competitiveness' are some of the most difficult of our baser instincts to overcome.... :roll:
Bob... are you confusing 'morals' with mores (the fixed morally binding customs of a particular group). Sadly, most people use the terms 'moral' and 'ethics' synonymously, when moral should be used as an adjective (morally) instead of a noun, and the noun 'ethics' is way too often used as an adjective (ethically). :roll:
I also disagree that "dynamics of group structure always leads down a path away from moderation..." as a "law of human nature."
Verily, what with 'folkways, mores,and taboos" working towards a moderation in group dynamics, I would further suggest that the 'deviants' in society serve to strengthen group dynamics towards moderation. (ask Frankenstein :lol: )

Towards a 'moderation' in accessibility, I now offer for all, a 'Sociological Joke' which I wrote, and performed while in a Sociology Class, as the confirmed and unrepentant 'class clown' I have always been.
Professor: 'Give an example of a 'Cultural Norm'."
Me: "It's when the fat guy walks into Cheers, and everyone yells 'NORM!!'".... :roll: :D jim




BTW... I worked as a commercial collector, back in the 70's and might be able to detail what I considered 'ethical guidelines' for that archetype.


You are right about greed and competitiveness being a negative force at times, but both are essential to the success of the human race (and the animal world). To get anywhere in conservation those traits need to be utilized and channeled rather than overcome.

You may be right about the morals/mores semantics, but I fear you missed my bigger point.

(My thoughts on group dynamics are derived from established principles of organizational behavior, as in the members with the most extreme views tend to take leadership roles over time unless checks and balances are in place. Over time when one point of view becomes too extreme it is corrected one way or another, but the danger is that it is an over correction and then a series of over corrections...all to common in this day and age.)

Sorry EJ, not a 'redneck' nor a serious hunter! But I see where you are going and it could be the right track to some extent if wildlife related examples are required. My PETA comment referred more to their idea that animals should not be used in anyway, and that thinking extended to the interests of many here, hunters or not, could be disastrous for the resource as well as the herpers. My neck is stout BTW. :lol:

In my previous life in DC writing environmental legislation I have seen too many organizations/groups splinter and thus their effectiveness becomes much reduced. (My point was simply that if the ethics of herping is to be codified be sure that all points of view are included or the resource could suffer.) Like I said, I prefer to take a big tent view and get wary of to much tunnel vision.The big picture must be kept in view, and IMO habitat preservation trumps individual animals. If that stance is taken, imagine all the groups that suddenly share a common interest and just how powerful that block becomes.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: November 10th, 2011, 7:45 pm 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
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Bob wrote:
You are right about greed and competitiveness being a negative force at times, but both are essential to the success of the human race (and the animal world). To get anywhere in conservation those traits need to be utilized and channeled rather than overcome.

I agree.



Bob wrote:
(My thoughts on group dynamics are derived from established principles of organizational behavior, as in the members with the most extreme views tend to take leadership roles over time unless checks and balances are in place. Over time when one point of view becomes too extreme it is corrected one way or another, but the danger is that it is an over correction and then a series of over corrections...all to common in this day and age.)

Very true. I would however suggest that 'fairways, mores, and taboos' ARE the checks and balances that reign in 'extreme views' when they reach levels of deviancy, uniting the group back towards homeostasis. But I do agree that 'over correcting' can turn a skid into a flip, so great care must be taken when correcting, to regain control.


Bob wrote:
In my previous life in DC writing environmental legislation I have seen too many organizations/groups splinter and thus their effectiveness becomes much reduced. (My point was simply that if the ethics of herping is to be codified be sure that all points of view are included or the resource could suffer.) Like I said, I prefer to take a big tent view and get wary of to much tunnel vision.The big picture must be kept in view, and IMO habitat preservation trumps individual animals. If that stance is taken, imagine all the groups that suddenly share a common interest and just how powerful that block becomes.


Agreed. And although the 1st installment of the ethics roundtable was kinda looking at individual trees, rather than at the forest itself, I will keep urging everyone to step back and 'see the forest' and recognize ALL it's visitors, as welcome. That at least.. is my in-tent... :roll: :D jim


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: November 11th, 2011, 7:22 am 
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hellihooks wrote:
Bob wrote:
You are right about greed and competitiveness being a negative force at times, but both are essential to the success of the human race (and the animal world). To get anywhere in conservation those traits need to be utilized and channeled rather than overcome.

I agree.



Bob wrote:
(My thoughts on group dynamics are derived from established principles of organizational behavior, as in the members with the most extreme views tend to take leadership roles over time unless checks and balances are in place. Over time when one point of view becomes too extreme it is corrected one way or another, but the danger is that it is an over correction and then a series of over corrections...all to common in this day and age.)

Very true. I would however suggest that 'fairways, mores, and taboos' ARE the checks and balances that reign in 'extreme views' when they reach levels of deviancy, uniting the group back towards homeostasis. But I do agree that 'over correcting' can turn a skid into a flip, so great care must be taken when correcting, to regain control.


Bob wrote:
In my previous life in DC writing environmental legislation I have seen too many organizations/groups splinter and thus their effectiveness becomes much reduced. (My point was simply that if the ethics of herping is to be codified be sure that all points of view are included or the resource could suffer.) Like I said, I prefer to take a big tent view and get wary of to much tunnel vision.The big picture must be kept in view, and IMO habitat preservation trumps individual animals. If that stance is taken, imagine all the groups that suddenly share a common interest and just how powerful that block becomes.


Agreed. And although the 1st installment of the ethics roundtable was kinda looking at individual trees, rather than at the forest itself, I will keep urging everyone to step back and 'see the forest' and recognize ALL it's visitors, as welcome. That at least.. is my in-tent... :roll: :D jim


Cheers! Nothing worse for a group than a circular firing squad! :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: November 11th, 2011, 8:32 am 

Joined: August 17th, 2011, 12:11 pm
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Location: The Herping Holy Land (Arizona)
I finally watched the video on the herp ethics discussion. I think the topic was great. It was good to hear an attempt to define and to clarify the meaning of a "commercial collector". This is something that I had tried to define back much earlier on in this discussion as well. To me, commercial collecting is collecting an animal from the wild with the intent to sell the animal.

Most commercial collection within the United States is already illegal. In the areas where it is legal, it is rarely economical. I honestly do not think that in most places it really even occurs significantly anymore. Most wild types just aren't worth enough to justify the expense of collecting. I think it probably happens on a small scale, but then ends because it no longer provides an economic benefit to the collector. I am aware that it does still happen on a small scale in Nevada, Texas, and Florida. Captive breeding has brought down the prices of animals to the point where it makes more sense economically to breed animals in captivity than to collect them commercially.

I think when we demonize commercial collectors we are demonizing a phantom that doesn't really exist or exists on a much smaller scale than what we realize and that a fair amount of it that may be happening is happening illegally and not likely to be altered by a list of ethics. Rattlesnake roundups are an obvious exception as is commercial collecting that is alive and well in other countries. The roundups are large, possibly unsustainable ecologically, and likely to continue because they are sustainable economically (at least if Rattlesnake populations dwindle). I also agree that the roundups are morally wrong.

I do like the idea of hellihooks, who is much more eloquent in speech than in writing :beer: , of having a list of ethical guidelines or recommendations for commercial collectors as well as other archetypes. I am personally opposed to commercial collection, as I defined it above, but I see no need for it to be legislated out of existence. I think that people should be respectfully encouraged to not collect commercially, but for those who do it would be good to have a set of ethical guidelines. Most states already protect species that may not be able to withstand collection. I think that collection for purposes of captive breeding should be encouraged, however. I feel strongly that this activity further reduces pressures on wild populations and allows people to work with the animals that they want to. A set of ethics should apply to this activity as well.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: November 11th, 2011, 9:22 am 

Joined: August 18th, 2011, 7:47 am
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Hi Jim and Bob, Jim I am not sure what you mean by "myopic"

But if it means I am looking at a small area, yes I am.

You guys are going on and on over the big picture, but that big picture is beyond the scope of our (this)forum. The "ethics" for this forum should be about its users not the world in general. The world has its own ethics to deal with.

How are the members of this forum impacting the subject by their actions, that is the question. The ethics should be how that impact can be lessened or limited, if the users of this forum CHOOSE to go by those ethics.

If we are talking big picture ethics, then bulldozers(more specificically D-8's and D-9's) and chainsaws should be outlawed. If I remember correctly those were the bulldozers designed to be air dropped into inaccessible areas.

But total habitat destruction is not the concern of the members of this forums day to day actions. That is a concern for humanity in general.

So yes, I am concerned with our members "loving" our animals to death. Not as a species, but as individuals. Thats first on my list.

Why is it first on my list, well thats easy, its first because none of you care about the individual snakes your interfering with. Or so it seems!

Its the constant rationalization from you and others, that is the problem.

If you would just look at it rationally. Animals avoid contact with people and predators. So you invading their world is a breach of their normal behavior. Therefore their behavior must change. How does that change and how does that change effect their individual success is the question. Its that simple.

You each protect your actions by rationlizing what your doing is OK. Well maybe not OK, but its not effecting the species. Sir the problem is, its not about you. Its about all of you, and in this case the future all of you.

With the current technogy, its so easy to find and lead others to these animals. Just take Crazins as an example, is just a couple of years, she has been to hundreds of "secret" herp spots. Areas that took years and years to find, she went to in minutes. hahahahahahahahaha no offense but you guys are way to easy.

The real problem may be this forum is not about the animals, but more about using animals to socialize. Which does explain why most here do not care about the impact they are having on the individual animals.

Nice folks like Bob, talk about the benefits to the people of india, which is great, but its not the people of india that are getting picked up, posed, moved, handled, interfered with, etc. Its the subject we see in all the pictures posted on this forum. The animals that are getting interfered with. Just look at the pictures.

ALso if you don't post pictures of animals, you may as well not post. And not just pictures, but artsy fartsy pictures. Thats the game thats being played here. Can you argue against that? By and large, its not about the subject, or information about the subject, its ALL about the pictures.

And in that , its about trends in types of pictures. Its more like a competition of pictures. Am I wrong?

Which is fine as long as the animals are not suffering for that human goal.

Whats funny is, its more like "keeping up with the Jones" Its not like it takes talent to take great pictures, these days, there are lots and lots of great cameras that allow anyone to take great pictures. So now its more about access to the subject. Which is real easy to obtain on this forum. A couple of kind words and wink and a smile will get you anywhere you want to go. And see anything you want to see.

I still question, what does great pictures have to do with a field herp forum? I am most likely wrong, but I somehow was under the impression that field herping was about the animals. And the pictures were to help understand the animals and how they fit in nature. That is, to transmitt knowledge of the animal, you know like Doc does here.

So all you have to do is tell me, its not about the animals. Then I would understand. As of know, I don't understand why there is so little concern for the individual animals. They are treated as if they are YOUR PERSONAL TOYS TO PLAY WITH.

You see, I think these animals belong to the world, not us. But then thats a whole other subject. The common narsisisstic view is, these animals are for OUR USE. Well that does seem a little self centered. but hey, we are human. So what say you Jim and Bob

So yes, I am but one voice, and I choose to stay on this subject. The rest of the ethics I will leave to you fine gentlemen. Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: November 11th, 2011, 9:34 am 

Joined: August 18th, 2011, 7:47 am
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Hi JDM,

I think commerical is to gain a benefit from. Thats how its used in Game and fish regulations. To sell, trade, barter, etc.

As a person from Az. We see many ways these animals are commericalized on. And its more widespread then you want to believe.

You have narrowed your difinition to fit you. A form of rationalization. hahahahahahahaha. You somehow relate commerical to making a profit. I am not use it was ever about profit, and more about helping pay the bills. To lessen the cost of a trip etc. That is so very common.

or the old, my friend wants one of these, so I caught it for him. First off, why do these people feel obligated to take animals from nature for a friend. and there are always lots and lots of friends. Consider, the animals taken out of nature, do not care about why they were taken. So whether its for hard money, a favor, etc, is not important.

yes today a much lower percentage of field herpers are taking animals. But sadly the number of field herpers is so much greater, that lower percentage is greater then the old "everyone taking animals" in the old days.

And yes, game and fish are still busy catching bad guys. There are more then ever. That is the reality. And yes, there are also way more good guys, thankfully.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: November 11th, 2011, 9:44 am 
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Retes wrote:
You guys are going on and on over the big picture, but that big picture is beyond the scope of our (this)forum. The "ethics" for this forum should be about its users not the world in general.


I agree with the second sentence, not the first. The "ethics" for this forum should be about its users, but all of our actions have relevance to the big picture too, not just the direct small-picture interactions with herps.




Retes wrote:
But total habitat destruction is not the concern of the members of this forums day to day actions. That is a concern for humanity in general.


But we are members of humanity in general, therefore, this is our concern as well.




Retes wrote:
You each protect your actions by rationlizing what your doing is OK. Well maybe not OK, but its not effecting the species. Sir the problem is, its not about you. Its about all of you, and in this case the future all of you.


Are you willing to apply that to your other actions as well? To the driving around you do, your ownership of energy-using vehicles, the amount of land you take up, the spots that are bulldozed to provide food for your table, your use of resources? These are all "big picture" issues, but they do affect herps, and your actions contribute to it. This is most obvious in amount of driving (due to road kill), but we're all smart enough to take into account the less obvious negative impacts as well.




Retes wrote:
With the current technogy, its so easy to find and lead others to these animals. Just take Crazins as an example, is just a couple of years, she has been to hundreds of "secret" herp spots. Areas that took years and years to find, she went to in minutes. hahahahahahahahaha no offense but you guys are way to easy.


Okay, I don't want to agree with this, but.... :lol: Too true.

p.s. - I can honestly say that I have never in my life taken someone to another person's "secret spot" without the permission of the person who showed me the spot. In fact, the number of times I have taken someone flipping or road cruising in anyone's spot can be counted on a single hand.




Retes wrote:
The real problem may be this forum is not about the animals, but more about using animals to socialize. Which does explain why most here do not care about the impact they are having on the individual animals.


I disagree - the "loners" out there seem to demonstrate pretty much the same behavior in the field as the "socializers", in my experience. I can't say that I've had as much experience with other herpers as some people, certainly.




Retes wrote:
I still question, what does great pictures have to do with a field herp forum? I am most likely wrong, but I somehow was under the impression that field herping was about the animals. And the pictures were to help understand the animals and how they fit in nature. That is, to transmitt knowledge of the animal, you know like Doc does here.


The pictures are about the animals. They clearly are an integral part of a field herping forum. But I agree - the focus on "great pictures", especially tons of pictures of the same animals that everyone else is posting tons of pictures of, is detrimental when it leads to excessive handling and stress of animals. More people should take this seriously.




Retes wrote:
You see, I think these animals belong to the world, not us. But then thats a whole other subject. The common narsisisstic view is, these animals are for OUR USE. Well that does seem a little self centered. but hey, we are human.


For you, does this apply to all animals and resources, or just herps?


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: November 11th, 2011, 10:02 am 

Joined: August 17th, 2011, 12:11 pm
Posts: 49
Location: The Herping Holy Land (Arizona)
Retes,

You wrote "To lessen the cost of a trip etc. That is so very common."

I think you are right to point that out. I do think that this also is a form of commercial collecting that is happening to a certain extent.

I have always been much more concerned with a team of 5 or 10 people who are skilled at finding herps collecting everything that they can to wholesale off on a regular basis.

You are correct, though, if there are enough people doing as you describe, they could combined have the same effect.

It would be interesting to accumulate some real world numbers on this, though. I would assume that both Nevada and Texas would have some data on this. Nevada I believe issues collectors permits and requires some data input. Texas I think also did the same thing for a while. For illegal commercial collecting we likely will never have data and will have a difficult time stopping unless captive breeding can lower prices enough to effectively shut them down.


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