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 Post subject: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 1:19 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:31 pm
Posts: 624
Hello folks.

I've been thinking for a long while about the expansion of our coveted field herping culture and subsequently I have reflected on what it means to be a field herper, and how our participation on internet forums has effected the trajectory of field herping. In my time on several of the popular forums of the past 15 years, I've seen the general tone of this dynamic community change from one that developed from herpetoculture (= alterna) to one that has grown to encompass strict conservationism as well. It seems as if a contradiction between the ethics of these two groups may indeed be present. As I understand the phrase, field herper refers to a stew of differing identities and belief systems, many of which conflict with one another.

The contrast between the two ends of the potential contradiction previously mentioned is of great interest to me. On one side of this contradiction we have a philosophy that reflects the commercial history of field herping and demands to put the interests of the field herper first, and on the other side we have a philosophy that represents the conservation and wildlife management aspects of field herpetology and seeks to place the animals as a priority. In between is a gray zone that represents varying opinions and I am interested in drawing a few reflective thoughts from folks with varying positions within this gray zone, or perhaps out on the fringe. In the former case, often times folks who have a long history of experience in pursuit of commercially appealing animals have argued that moderate collection should be permitted even in the absence of data. In the latter case there are folks who would argue that collection ought to be completely restricted until there is reliable data to show that it is sustainable, and to what levels it is sustainable. Keep this in mind as you assess where you belong.

I created this post with the hope that FHF users would participate in a conversation that might better describe the conflict between these two sub-groups and perhaps come to understand a less controversial moderate point. I recently saw complaints about FHF becoming a puritanically conservationist community, and I wonder if this is true.

NAFHA has emerged from this community and it is composed and administrated by people who represent some point on the continuum between conservation and herper's rights described above. Originally when the topic of NAFHA first appeared on this forum (in 2005 or so) it seemed to have been an interest group meant to provide data to state agencies; data that would result in legislation that would reflect upon the anecdotal observations of many formerly commercial field herpers who believe(d) that at least some collection was sustainable. Now it appears that NAFHA is primarily a conservationist group intended to provide data for state agencies to use to create legislation that may or may not result in greater restrictions on field herpers. The importance of this distinction in motivation is of value.

Yet another important consideration is the role of internet message boards in marketing for field herping. If we are encouraging newcomers and if they come to know field herping through our posts, then we ought to consider what may be the best way to approach making posts. Many posts have contained too much information and thus we see a mandate against providing localities in posts; this is only a starting point. Yet another standard that ought to be considered is the information that can be drawn from posts regarding time of emergence. If you create a post just a few days after your return from a trip, certain information can be mined for and can result in extra attention and pressure on certain areas. Information on how and when to find cottonmouths in southern Illinois is obviously low hanging fruit, but information on how and when to find zonata has the potential to be damaging. Or does it?

Would you support legislation that protects a species based on insufficient or no data? Would you support legislation that permits collection of a species without sufficient data to suggest that the collection is sustainable (this is the default position as it appears to me)?

Do you believe that posting stories and accounts of field trips is harmful to habitat and to populations because it promotes/advertises a pursuit that has the potential to become very popular (think fishing)? Do you believe that posting stories and accounts of field trips is beneficial to the future of field herping because we as a community promote an ethical standard for herping (= "they're going to do it anyway, we may as well be there to show them how to do it correctly")? If you believe the latter, as I do, then we ought to attempt to develop a comprehensive list of ethical standards and they should be published for any newcomer to read through.

Aside from this topic is the matter of herping etiquette- applicable mostly to conditions in which field herpers are forced to share herping locations and destinations. Ultimately the idea of sharing locations is the top end of my interest-if our community grows in popularity to one day match the ubiquitous hunting and fishing communities, we may see territorial issues arise due to the finite amount of accessible habitat related to many species.

Thanks for reading this long winded :sleep: summary of my thoughts and questions. Please comment and participate in a discussion. :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 1:32 pm 
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Chad, you've brought up something at the perfect time! I'm making this a sticky, as I believe it to be a discussion of immense value within this community. Good on ya for putting it forward!

I support this....
Quote:
".....we ought to attempt to develop a comprehensive list of ethical standards and they should be published for any newcomer to read through."


Thanks,
Scott Waters


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 1:44 pm 

Joined: December 21st, 2010, 9:17 am
Posts: 68
Interesting post with some very well thought out issues. I have to think about the questions and probably address them when not on an I phone. I hate trying to type on it. But thought I would at least state my support for these issues.

Be safe
Jim Harrison


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 2:17 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
Chad, I have to admit that my view of collecting and conservation have changed over time as I have frequented this forum, and I think I have actually come full circle to some extent. When I first found this forum, I had no qualms about going out and collecting a snake for myself if it was legal. I found out more about the laws in Iowa, and also started learning more about the ranges of animals in my area. It turned out that they didn't just exist everywhere the map was colored in my field guide. As I became more involved with local conservation groups, my view became more strict, and for a while I believed that most animals should not be collected unless there is a need for an educational specimen, and even then, that captive bred sources should be tried first. When I was granted an educators permit from the Iowa DNR, I sought out captive bred animals, and realized that the captive bred animals did not always properly represent the animals I see locally. Well, there went my view of trying to get captive bred animals first. As time went on, I ran into more and more kids that would have loved to take an animal home. I grew up catching snakes. I brought plenty of them home. That is part of what inspired me to keep looking for them. Why should this kid be denied that same opportunity? In the same time, I have also realized that while certain snakes may be hard to come by, that their numbers are higher than I originally thought. So as I said, I have come back to my original view on things. I have no issue with people collecting things for their own personal use if it is legal. Even if those animals will be bred and the offspring sold, I see no issue.

Commercial harvesting is a different matter altogether in my eyes. I do believe an overzealous collector could wipe out local populations. In a state like Iowa, most of our remaining habitat exists in small pockets. If there is demand for the animal, take the time to collect a pair and breed them. One other issue I have with commercial collecting is a general issue I have with breeders. Many people complain about laws prohibiting the possession and sale of some large snakes, or even venomous, but the same people will turn around and sell some to someone who is incapable of caring for it through out it's life.

That is my unorganized, off the cuff rant.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 2:45 pm 
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Location: Boerne, TX
Well, you've saved me a lot of typing. In general I can only echo the above. Since moving to Texas from the northeast, my views concerning personal collection have liberalized somewhat, certainly. Here, vast tracts of habitat-indeed areas greater than some northeastern states-are totally inaccessible to herpers, since Texas is primarily composed of huge private ranches with very little public land. In this environment, it is hard to imagine that any number of herpers collecting for personal use could have the slightest impact on populations. Again, commercial collection is another matter, and should be examined much more closely.

Laws and regulations should be local, and founded on data. In the absence of data, regulations should be conservative certainly-but also reasonable. The recent demise of the Texas road ban, and the four year fight preceding, are a textbook example of the damage that can be done to the credibility of agencies by ill-conceived and groundless regulation. I see NAFHA as one mechanism we can use to encourage cooperation and dialogue with agencies to prevent such blunders in future.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 3:55 pm 

Joined: June 27th, 2010, 2:42 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Everywhere USA
Chad, I think my post was definetly a combination response to snake man123s post and this one as well..... I think my post speaks for itself on where I am on the level of participation I want to be involved in. What I want most is a tight knit community of good herpers, because sharing good posts and certian information makes each of us a better herper. That is only natural. I like to see posts by others, in fact crave to see others posts, but only when their quaility materials and where I can learn fom their efforts. This of course represents a delicate balence in the information given within the posts made. The biggest reason I believe the best herpers come and go on this forum ( or decline to make posts) is because they dont want their efforts broadcasted to anyone on the web, but to maybe just to their friends and correspondants... and potential new herping buddies...


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 5:06 pm 
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Posts: 782
Location: Arizona
Chad...

Thanks for your efforts in bringing this issue forward. While you may think your post was long winded, it addresses many issues that ought to be discussed and thought about by the field herping community. Since you asked for feedback regarding what each of us think about the issues you outlined, I'll attempt to respond.

Being a political libertarian, I think we need to be VERY careful when we invite legislation as a means to address certain issues. Often, legislation can have unforeseen consequences...so while something may sound good in theory, put into practice it might not work out so well...Now, I'm not anti-legislation per se....simply stating that when those without a vested interest (i..e nonherping legislators) have the power to dictate what is and isn't permissible as relates to field herping or captive husbandry, one should hardly be surprised when the outcome is less than favorable. It's my opinion that this occurs because traditionally the "herping community" has been politically apathetic and fragmented. We haven't done a good job of making sure our own house is in order(i.e. selling a baby Burmese python to a 13 year old at a herp show), so legislators step in and do it for us.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with legal, personal collection. I don't collect hardly anything anymore, but (like almost everyone else here) there was a time (many years ago) where I collected a lot because I was a young kid and the animals were just too cool. With reference to commercial collection, that's a bit of a different animal...The reality is that there are some commercial collectors that are only concerned with the dollar and will utilize even illegal avenues in pursuit of it...Historically speaking, even zoos and accredited institutions were guilty of supporting (sometimes illegal) commercial collection...I've never collected for profit, nor would I ever do so...Just not something that coincides with my personal views...I see absolutely nothing wrong with collecting a wild pair of herps, breeding them and selling the offspring (provided it's legal to do so)...Interestingly enough, the laws in some states (i.e. Arizona) encourage the wild collection of herps while at the same time making it illegal to sell captive bred offspring of native animals....Funny how "conservation minded" can get twisted around depending on who's doing the talking....

I'm a FIRM BELIEVER that science should be the guiding principle in wildlife based legislation...With that said, I agree that absent sufficient data to indicate whether a species can withstand moderate collection or not we should regulate such collection until such data exists. The issue then becomes how willing the government is to amend such legislation when said data does arise....and in the vast majority of cases, they're not very willing at all. As a case in point, Crotalus lepidus klauberi is quite common in suitable habitats in southern Arizona...There is little doubt that this species could withstand moderate collection....yet Arizona has repeatedly turned a deaf ear to any and all proposals to end the closed season...the reason? It's easier for them to simply say no than to actively manage wildlife. Herps aren't a huge money maker for the state, so they tend not to spend much time reviewing whether or not scientific data is valid or if "protection" is in fact warranted. And THAT'S the issue I have with the "we'll protect it until it's shown that said protection is not needed" philosophy....even when it's established, government is loathe to repeal legislation already on the books.

Well, I could go on and on here, but I imagine ya'll have probably heard enough already...

-Kris


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 5:47 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:40 pm
Posts: 489
Location: Manteca, CA
Very interesting and controversial topic.

Thus the reason why I hardly ever post after a trip any longer, I tend to normally wait a while and post a few trips within a single post.

I have no problem with legally collecting at all, I've done it in the past, and rarely do it now. I only own two wild caught animals that I collected.

I have many of the same feelings and thoughts as Chad, and DBDave does.

Interesting in hearing what others feel.



Cheers,
Chad


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 6:12 pm 
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Some really good thoughts Chad.


chad ks wrote:
Originally when the topic of NAFHA first appeared on this forum (in 2005 or so) it seemed to have been an interest group meant to provide data to state agencies; data that would result in legislation that would reflect upon the anecdotal observations of many formerly commercial field herpers who believe(d) that at least some collection was sustainable. Now it appears that NAFHA is primarily a conservationist group intended to provide data for state agencies to use to create legislation that may or may not result in greater restrictions on field herpers.


I may not have seen enough, but I wasn't aware of this shift at all. I'm under the impression that NAFHA provides data to state agencies in order to make more accurate decisions. In the case of common species that state agencies have under-counted in the past, that would mean data in favor of more legal collecting, in the case of disappearing species, that would mean greater restrictions (though I vastly prefer restrictions on habitat development to restrictions on field herpers).

I can't think of any data requests that have leaned towards "greater restrictions on field herpers". The most relevant requests have been the sensitive species designations in California, and in those cases providing them with more data is likely to tell them more about how common the animals are, not how rare they are. Have you seen anything different than this?



chad ks wrote:
Yet another important consideration is the role of internet message boards in marketing for field herping. If we are encouraging newcomers and if they come to know field herping through our posts, then we ought to consider what may be the best way to approach making posts.


I agree with all your thoughts on newcomers.


chad ks wrote:
Would you support legislation that protects a species based on insufficient or no data? Would you support legislation that permits collection of a species without sufficient data to suggest that the collection is sustainable (this is the default position as it appears to me)?


I don't like either option at all. That's why I'm pushing so hard for more data - neither potentially unnecessary protection nor potentially unsustainable habitat destruction/collection should be based on insufficient data.

Unfortunately, you can't always have sufficient data....but I'm trying to make that situation better as much as possible.


chad ks wrote:
Do you believe that posting stories and accounts of field trips is harmful to habitat and to populations because it promotes/advertises a pursuit that has the potential to become very popular (think fishing)?


I think that this has happened in the past (like with fishing or certain types of hunting) because of the time period it happened in. With environmental awareness at the stage its at now, I think that increasing people's interest in and love for herps will have a much greater benefit to habitat and populations (think Ducks Unlimited) than some minor potential drawbacks from increased field herper numbers.


chad ks wrote:
Do you believe that posting stories and accounts of field trips is beneficial to the future of field herping because we as a community promote an ethical standard for herping (= "they're going to do it anyway, we may as well be there to show them how to do it correctly")? If you believe the latter, as I do, then we ought to attempt to develop a comprehensive list of ethical standards and they should be published for any newcomer to read through.


Yes and yes.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 6:29 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 1:04 pm
Posts: 75
This is a great topic, and one that should definitely be explored. As a kid, I started hunting snakes around the time I could walk. My dad was out mowing our yard, and a black rat snake fell out of a tree onto him. Instead of running and screaming, he called me out and handed it to me. Since then, I've loved snakes, and everything that goes along with going out and looking for them. As a kid, I took home my fair share of snakes, because I thought they were cool. As I grew older, I had that moment of epiphany when you realize there are actually other people who "do that", i.e. field herp. I think I heard the term "field herping" when I was around 19 or so, which was around the same time I got my first camera. Then there was an alternative to just bringing home everything cool you found, you could take a picture, and that would last you forever, plus you wouldn't have another mouth to feed. :D Now, at 28, I've found that for the most part I would rather photograph an animal in the wild than take it home with me. I do keep snakes, and have several that are wild caught, but the animals that I have that are wild caught represent a type that are not commonly bred in captivity, the coachwhips and racers. When it all comes down to it, I wouldn't say I have a problem with collecting for personal use. I put it on the same level as game hunting, you're taking an animal out of the wild for personal use. As long as it's done in moderation, I don't see a problem with it. I just don't personally do it much anymore unless there's something I have a particular reason to keep. The camera is a lot more fun.

Kevin


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 7:24 pm 
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Chad,

I think the idea of generating a list of herping ethics is a great idea. I'm afraid the opposing camps might make it hard to come up with an acceptable list, but I think the idea is worth pursuing anyway.

As for the collecting/not collecting arguments, I think a lot of us who have been herping for 20+ years have been through the herping for specimens stage to the herping for fun/photos stage. It is a bit hard for us to turn around to the young generation of herpers behind us to say "you shouldn't herp the way I used to".

I think if we do attack this issue we need to separate the people who keep an animal or two for a personal collection from the people out there collecting to sell. I see those as very different types of herpers.

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 7:30 pm 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 8:09 pm
Posts: 509
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
I never post right after a trip. It always takes a few weeks or months of procrastination and photo flipping before I get anything online. :)

I also like reading everyone's point of views on this discussion; keep'm coming.

I would like to have some sort of "ethic's list" to follow. As herpetoculture has found out with new exotic's laws, it pays to be organized, and that would be a step in the right direction. This might mean making some sacrifices like sticking to paths and trails so as to allow the animals some reprieve from the increasing amount of people in the field.

That brings me to my main point. We all want to enjoy herps, and like mentioned above, everyone should have the opportunity to catch snakes as a kid. However like with so many things, when you multiply that by 7 billion (the world population just surpassed that!), you end up with a lot of trouble. Sooooo, I think that:
Limiting human offspring should be on the ethic's list. :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 7:50 pm 
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WOW, great topic. sticky for sure. i have to collect my thoughts on this, but i will be back.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 8:12 pm 
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I think the discussion of collecting vs. noncollecting is more of a historical debate. I don't remember that being a strong issue here recently, partly because many of the former participants have moved on and partly because most of the people on here either do not collect or are not vocal about their collection.

Recently, it seems that ethical debates revolve around issues that are far more cryptic: whether handling animals at all is detrimental, whether posting photos/accounts in season is detrimental (even if localities are not given), whether disturbing animals at potentially sensitive sites is detrimental, etc.

Most of these issues can be distilled to a single point: are activities that may disturb normal herp daily lives ethical? One side argues that the risk of any disturbance should be avoided at all costs. The other side argues that there is little evidence for disturbance having a tangible impact, and is no big deal as long as significant injury is avoided.

Van


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 8:22 pm 
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VanAR wrote:
I think the discussion of collecting vs. noncollecting is more of a historical debate. I don't remember that being a strong issue here recently, partly because many of the former participants have moved on and partly because most of the people on here either do not collect or are not vocal about their collection.

Van


I'm more of the opinion that the endless and acrimonious debates which were once common here have led to a kind of "live and let live" consensus, at least when it comes to very occasional collecting of a very few herps for personal use. Any kind of commercial collecting is (I think rightly, on balance) anathema to most members to be sure . Clearly a lot of us do collect on occasion, just this brief thread demonstrates that.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 8:58 pm 
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I'm pretty much of the same mindset as Kris. Living here in the Peoples Republic of Kalifoonia, environmental policy and wildlife management is frequently not based on good science, but is controlled by interest groups that lobby uninformed politicians and those politicains don't want the wrath of those groups if they vote to repeal something no longer needed. I have zero interest in collecting as I gave that up over 30 years ago, but I have no problem with others doing it for a personal collection (just stay out of my spots :x ).

For me, it's been photography and an excuse to get outside and get some actual excersize that has got me back into this. I'll admit that I'm WAY behind on adding to the NAHERP database. I seldom handle the herps that I see. The majority of what I do handle is to move it while replacing cover. If I can get a good shot of an animal in it's natural environment without disturbing it, that's exactly what I'll do. I've noticed that if I handle an animal, I usually won't see it again at the same place. I caught a snake once to photograph in the open and the next time that I saw it was at least 300 yards away.

Anyway, interesting points of view, though the longer posts are at odds with the ADD in me.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 8:59 pm 
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joeysgreen wrote:
Sooooo, I think that:
Limiting human offspring should be on the ethic's list. :shock:


As long as we're going really controversial, I could point out that the average American uses as many resources as 200 average Ethiopians. Those resources mean real loss in terms of habitat destroyed for pastureland and agriculture, forests logged for wood, mountains destroyed for mining, land taken up by oversized houses, etc. So instead of talking about other people's children, it might do as much or more good to worry about our own consumption.

I don't really want to divert the thread at all or really take that thought any further (a field herping forum isn't really the place), I just wanted to make an isolated response to one other out-of-place argument.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 9:03 pm 
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Owen wrote:
environmental policy and wildlife management is frequently not based on good science, but is controlled by interest groups that lobby uninformed politicians and those politicains don't want the wrath of those groups if they vote to repeal something no longer needed....

I'll admit that I'm WAY behind on adding to the NAHERP database.



Hey - way behind means intent to catch up. That's still pretty good. :thumb:

I'll point out that California is specifically one of the spots where we're having a small influence on better science in policy (so far by contributing data to the taskforce determining California's sensitive species, contributing data to Sam Sweet's taskforce working on the California portion of the US Forest Service's sensitive species, and contributing data to a project to better understand genetic diversity among SoCal's pond turtle populations), and hopefully our increased collaborations between field herpers, scientists, and policy makers will result in increasingly better science to come.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 9:34 pm 
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Quote:
I've noticed that if I handle an animal, I usually won't see it again at the same place. I caught a snake once to photograph in the open and the next time that I saw it was at least 300 yards away.


I've seen a few different situations on handling snakes as well. I've flipped snakes and never found them again, I've flipped snakes and found them under a different object. I've also flipped snakes, then reflipped them under the same rock weeks apart, including after a photo session. I know someone who found the same Red-Sided Garter twice then I found it a third time. I also know of a Rubber Boa being found over a dozen times within a small area from a few different herpers.

I think it depends on species, and even more importantly the individual snake it's self. Like Crotalus species at den sites shouldn't be handled, or at least minimally. I've moved Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes off the road, then half hour later find the same animal on the road again.

Even though this might spark a fire, I believe we should be able to handle protected species for photos, as even if you stress a snake our they'll just move on or go underground, might be harder to find for another herper but the animal is still there. Now with Amphibians I tend to lean more 'hands-off' due to there sensitivity being much more prone to health affects with handling than a snake or a lizard.


Cheers,
Chad


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2011, 10:08 pm 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
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Location: Hesperia, California.
Chad,
Your post could not have been timed better, as these questions have been coming up within the NAFHA.... Are we principally a conservation group, who through the database, hope to someday wield some influence towards species/habitat preservation issues, and herper rights (in that order) OR a group of herpers building a database to gain influence towards fighting for herpers rights, with the conservation of species/habitat a secondary, yet still important by-product?
Interestingly enough, when doing the NAFHA bylaws rewrite...ARTICLE II (the) Purpose Statement was (I believe) the one article we did not change a single word of.
ARTICLE II. PURPOSE

The purpose of the association will be:

1. To collect scientific data on wild reptiles and amphibians in the United States, Canada, and Mexico and maintain a database for the collection and sharing of such scientific data.
2. 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 NAFHA and its members recognize that habitat destruction and alteration, poor land management, and non-native species are the greatest threats to North American herpetofauna. The NAFHA and its members will focus on methods of conservation related to the above issues and will assist in the collection of data in an effort to develop a management plan for such issues.
3. To disseminate the data collected, and otherwise make such data available, to recognized researchers, agencies, institutions, lawmakers, and others interested in herpetology and conservation for the purposes of education, conservation, research, and sustainable use of North American herpetofauna.
4. To promote knowledge in the general field of herpetology for the benefit of the public and the general NAFHA membership.
5. To inspire all people to enjoy and protect wild herpetofauna and promote the responsible enjoyment of the activity of observing herpetofauna in the wild.


Bottom line... we do both. It doesn't matter which side of the coin you are on... we grow the database (and vote for Pedro) and all our dreams will come true.
Personally... I believe that more and more the direction in Herpetoculture is towards 'Locality specificity/purity' and limited collecting to breed locality pure herps can and does reduce collecting pressure. Commercial collection sucks. And Finally, as an Ed Spec. for a Nafha Chapter, I believe teaching the next generation of herpers is one of our primary ethical warrants.... examples online are good, but nothing like first hand examples... teach newbs IN PERSON how to flip a rock...AND put it back right, how not to over collect, how to collect data and take good pics for one's digital collection.
I'm actually almost done with what (hopefully) will be an article in Herp Nation on 'Locality Specificity Online'...(for beginners) which will be then condensed to sticky form for my chapter, and hopefully pick up by other chapters. :thumb: jim


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 5:38 am 

Joined: June 16th, 2010, 6:03 pm
Posts: 73
Great post, Chad. I think you've done an excellent job illustrating how polarized this hobby (and forum) really is. I can't say I see this discussion coming to productive result, though (in terms of an established ethics list).

The classic conflict (one poised to flare up at any time within the NE chapter) is "rights of the herper vs. rights of the animal". Ultimately the "rights of the animal" side gets upset because they perceive the actions of others putting wildlife at risk, and the "herper-rights" side gets upset because they feel they're being harassed by conservationists and should be able to do and post what they want with impunity. And of course there are complex shades of grey in between.

Well . . . the one thing I think I've noticed about herpers nearly across the board is that as far as ethics goes, each herper essentially considers him/herself an island. Whatever the motivation happens to be, that individual's own herping values almost ALWAYS trumps any outside influence, be that other herpers, legislation regarding the animals, etc . . . and it strangely seems to pay no mind to the level of education/experience/insight of any contradicting outside source. That's not to say that everyone is beyond influence . . . only that once they've firmly established a stance (and a strong herper identity), I've only rarely seen people shift philosophically for any but THEIR OWN reasons.

Put plainly - when nobody is around, herpers do what they want, and for their own reasons. If it happens to jive with a law or someone else's opinion in the process, that is merely secondary to the decision that herper already made to satisfy his/her intentions. From my end, trying to convince a herper that "going to the same timber site over and over is a bad idea" is disturbingly identical in tone to trying to convince a fisherman not to kill every watersnake he sees.

Writing an ethics of herping is a great goal - but its essentially just a list of laws we impose on ourselves as a community. If a "herper-rights" advocate thinks their rights are being infringed, they'll simply ignore it, as surely as we all ignore any herp-based law we disagree with (as long as it doesn't involve getting caught or called-out on it). Same goes for the other direction . . . no collaborative set of ethics is EVER going to convince me that manipulating a sensitive (and imperiled) species for the sake of a photograph is acceptable. Its a culture where the majority believe they know more than the majority . . . I just don't see how that would work is all.

-Bob


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 5:52 am 
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Bobbleton wrote:
Well . . . the one thing I think I've noticed about herpers nearly across the board is that as far as ethics goes, each herper essentially considers him/herself an island. Whatever the motivation happens to be, that individual's own herping values almost ALWAYS trumps any outside influence, be that other herpers, legislation regarding the animals, etc . . .


I'm afraid I've got to disagree on a few fronts. Myself and other herpers have regularly changed their viewpoint based on the input of others. That's why I love debate and discussion, it gives me the chance to refine.

And obviously an individuals herping values trump the values of others: That's a simple statement of free will (I think this is the best decision, therefore I will do it.) And I believe even if other opinions don't change a person's mind; they can still influence. I, for instance went through the stage that everyone does of having to collect EVERYTHING. People's anti-collecting arguments over the years helped me transition out of that; but I still am not opposed to collecting under certain contexts - even commercial collecting (I don't participate in it, but I'm not necessarily against people collecting exotics for profit.) Everyone should be willing to rethink and, if necessary, change their views based on interactions with others. Even with viewpoints that are repugnant or horrendous, one should still consider their merit before dismissing them.


Bobbleton wrote:
Put plainly - when nobody is around, herpers do what they want, and for their own reasons.


Not necessarily. As much as I would love a pet Indigo Snake, I wouldn't collect/keep one if I found one whilst alone. I think there are many who agree. And once again, "their own reasons" is kind of stating the obvious: someone would be silly to do something for somebody else's reasons. Ownership of ethics is important.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 6:11 am 
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Quote:
side gets upset because they feel they're being harassed by conservationists and should be able to do and post what they want with impunity.


I don't think this is necessarily the case. I think almost everyone on this board thinks of themselves as a conservationist, whether they handle/harass the animals or not. I think the hands-off philosophy is actually rooted in preservation rather than conservation. Conservationist philosophy allows/expects a certain amount of "use", or "take". In this way, the debate is analogous to collection vs. noncollection, although there are many non-collectors who freely handle herps on a regular basis.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 6:58 am 
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VanAR wrote:
Quote:
side gets upset because they feel they're being harassed by conservationists and should be able to do and post what they want with impunity.


I don't think this is necessarily the case. I think almost everyone on this board thinks of themselves as a conservationist, whether they handle/harass the animals or not. I think the hands-off philosophy is actually rooted in preservation rather than conservation. Conservationist philosophy allows/expects a certain amount of "use", or "take". In this way, the debate is analogous to collection vs. noncollection, although there are many non-collectors who freely handle herps on a regular basis.


Agreed, on all points :)


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 7:13 am 

Joined: August 18th, 2011, 7:47 am
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These are surely interesting threads.

A couple of thoughts pop in my mind.

1, laws restricting non profitable wildlife, seem to be politically motivated and nothing to do with conservation of reptile species or any species for that matter. All biologist understand, habitats require protection, not species.

And two, some common belief or thought that if you protect something, its then protected. Which is total BS. It only protects the animal from those that believe in that law. Which means that law is violated by intentionally illegal individuals, and those that rationalize the law does not apply to them or that individual animal. You know, yea they are protected but gilas and leps are common, so whats it going to hurt, type of thing.

The next subject is what our impact does to the animals.

Again, as a person who has been in the field for decades. I do see some problems.

The first is ignorance. Most here, professionals included, have a complete lack of understanding of ethlogy. Behavior is what we are effecting when we interfere with these animals. Behavior is not simple.

Behavior is not cut and dry, its effected by single events and compounded by additional events. Its also individual and situational. But most do not bother to attempt to understand what any of that means.

This is a comment from this thread, I am not using the name of that person and its not actually about that person. Its simply a common rationalization.


I've seen a few different situations on handling snakes as well. I've flipped snakes and never found them again, I've flipped snakes and found them under a different object. I've also flipped snakes, then reflipped them under the same rock weeks apart, including after a photo session. I know someone who found the same Red-Sided Garter twice then I found it a third time. I also know of a Rubber Boa being found over a dozen times within a small area from a few different herpers.

I think it depends on species, and even more importantly the individual snake it's self. Like Crotalus species at den sites shouldn't be handled, or at least minimally. I've moved Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes off the road, then half hour later find the same animal on the road again.

Even though this might spark a fire, I believe we should be able to handle protected species for photos, as even if you stress a snake our they'll just move on or go underground, might be harder to find for another herper but the animal is still there. Now with Amphibians I tend to lean more 'hands-off' due to there sensitivity being much more prone to health affects with handling than a snake or a lizard.


While there is nothing really wrong with this opinion. The problem is, its based on the exception rather then the rule. A few instances where the animals behavior was not overtly altered. When the reality, there were tens of thousands of events where the behavior WAS or could have been altered. Its that I did not see it, so it did not happen. Which is common to even the highest level of herpers.

The problem is, we do not study what we don't see. Like the effects of radio tagging. We pull the radios out and see ya snake. There should be a studies on what happens to those individuals after the radios are pulled out. Hmmmmmmm no funding for that.

Again, whats odd is very few even bother to think about the actual situation. Like denning animals mentioned above. Well all these species have times of the year they are more sensitive to interference then other types of the year. Also age differences, neonates are more flexibile then reproductive adults. Thats common sense, but not utilized in our thinking.

What is so odd to me is, with game animals, there are seasons when blowing their brains out is of the least impact to the population. With herps, there is no consideration for that. Its either protect or not. Which is that old A to Z type of reaction.

And that type of reaction is prevelent here. A or Z.

I would think that another approach would be of value, a realistic approach. Not A or Z, but something timely and in the middle. Something that benefits both the animals and the people using the animals.

Also, in the world we live in, the pay to play world. I am dumbfounded that our government has not created a situation where we are required to pay to play. Oh well, I guess that will be coming soon.

The problem with that is, will this paying actually help the animals or buy lots of new trucks and junk. Its amazing that as poor as our government claims to be, they do have lots of new trucks. I want a new truck.

Just some thoughts and boy are they just some thoughts


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 7:22 am 
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We will never all agree on an ethical code such as: "Wild herps are negatively impacted by human interaction. Therefore, field herpers should take care to avoid any direct contact with or disturbance of wild herps."

Likewise, we will never all agree to the following: "Interaction with wild herps promotes appreciation, understanding and protection of herps and their habitat. Therefore, field herpers should be permitted to handle and pose wild herps."

Yet, there is truth in both statements.

Perhaps something like this could be accepted: "Wild herps deserve respect, consideration, and protection. While many herpers disagree on the impact of various field herping activities, we all recognize that some level of handling and disturbance is potentially harmful to herps. Whereas we all care deeply about wild herps and their habitats, we must each accept the responsibility to honestly and serious consider any potential negative impacts of our field herping activities. Any potential harm should be carefully weighed against any potential benefits (such as data collection, better understanding, educational opportunities, and personal fulfillment). Great care should be taken to reduce or eliminate any net negative impact."

I'm sure the wording could be improved or totally revised. The point is to try and focus on our areas of agreement and push forward from there. None of us wants to harm herps! That is the unifying factor in all of our ethical standards. We harm ourselves, our community, and ultimately herps, when we wrongly assume that field herpers with differing opinions on wildlife interaction just don't care as much or are somehow less worthy than us.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 8:36 am 
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Great care should be taken to reduce or eliminate any net negative impact


Absolutely agree, yet it’s hard to not feel like a sucker when those who don’t care about the animals (or actively despise them) fire up the bulldozers and put a permanent end to a population you had been observing.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 9:27 am 
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I think working on a draft of field herping ethics is a great idea, Chad. Mind you, I don’t know how likely this fractious group is to actually come up with any kind of guidelines that most everyone would be willing to get behind, but it seems to me that just making the effort could do some real good.

I’ve been involved in the herp hobby in one way or another for a long time now, and there have certainly been plenty of changes both good and bad in that time, mostly stemming from the hobby’s growth. Here are the points I’d like to stress in this effort:

- I’d really like to see us as a group consciously take a much broader perspective. Of course I realize that herps are the principal common interest that draws us here, and I also recognize that efforts have already been made to at least provide for a broader perspective (witness the Birding, Fishing and Invertebrate Forums here – and kudos to Scott and anyone else who played a part in their creation). But while a clear division of topics is desirable for smooth forum function, I am often dismayed at how narrow many folks’ thought processes seem to be when tackling any given subject, particularly when the subject is or relates to conservation. Surely we all realize that not just herps and their habitats but all wildlife and wild lands are worth conserving, indeed need conserving? That herps are not the only nor even the only important creatures to keep in mind during our pursuits?

- I’d also really like to see us, with that broader perspective firmly in mind, develop rational priorities for guiding our own actions and evaluating the actions of others. We all have pet beliefs born of our own particular experiences, inclinations and emotions, sure, and maybe those pet beliefs are always going to get at least somewhat more than their due share of our efforts. That’s just being human. But as a group (and individually, too, I firmly believe) we should strive to apply reason to the process, and also to be open to the reason of others – mind you, I didn’t say merely the argument of others, but rather whatever real logic and/or evidence might lie behind the argument – even when it demotes our pet beliefs on the priority list or speaks against the way we’re defending them.

One case in point that’s always been with us: The deliberate or accidental sharing of information. People have widely differing views on how much information a successful field herper can or should share with others about his/her exploits, and if any information is indeed to be shared with anyone, exactly how it should be done, and with whom. About all that most everyone can agree upon is that at least some restraint on sharing is warranted in a public venue, and that there is at least some potential for harm to result from sharing. Otherwise opinions lie all over the map. This debate has been ongoing at least since Carl Kauffeld’s day, and shows no sign of being resolved anytime soon. I frankly doubt that it will ever be resolved.

Another case in point that I’ve only seen emerge fairly recently (in the overall scheme of things): The collection or in some cases now even the mildest of disturbance of animals. I suspect this debate stems directly from the growth of the hobby, from a belief that as there are more and more of us, it becomes more and more important that each of us do less and less harm – or preferably none whatsoever – in our pursuits. That makes a lot of sense, so far as it goes. Unfortunately, opinions lie all over the map, too, about what actually constitutes harm, and whether/how much a potential harm might be offset by an associated good. I believe that better education about how populations actually work could certainly help with this in many cases – if the folks involved are receptive to education, that is – but it seems pretty clear that in many others it will have no effect whatsoever. People feel the way they feel. Even more unfortunately, some people have become downright militant in their stance, viciously attacking others who espouse differing views.

Ok, so we’re a diverse group with accordingly diverse perspectives. It makes sense that we should each do as seems best to us, and even that we should try to persuade others to adopt our own view. But the aforementioned broader perspective and a set of reasoned priorities arising from that perspective give us a way forward in any event, if we’re willing to adopt them. We might disagree on whether a herp hunting spot should be shared or an animal be collected, but compared to all of the other things that we could and should be devoting effort to on behalf of wildlife and wild lands conservation, and considering how capable we are as a united group as opposed to divided factions in addressing those things, such arguments seem awfully small to me. Vastly overblown petty squabbles, really.

- Finally, I’d really like to see us make a conscious goal of uniting our community. The myriad problems that wildlife and wild lands face are huge, and with the rare exception of stellar individuals who can by themselves make a big difference (think Kauffeld, Rachel Carson, etc.), we truly need each other to make a difference of any real substance at all. We should each of us individually and all of us as a group always be looking for ways to bring people in and then bring them along. Sadly, instead it seems that many of us are constantly seeking ways to exclude others from our circle of friends, our clique, our club, our forum. Maybe it’s always been so, but to me that particular problem seems to be worsening rather than improving. I honestly don’t know whether we can reverse it, but I think I have a pretty good idea of what will happen in the future if we don’t, and it’s not good.

Anyway, those are my general points. I’d be thrilled to work with whomever on a mission statement and set of priorities, I’d be happy to work on a codified set of ethical guidelines, and I’d be fine with simply helping others do so if that is folks’ wish. I have less and less tolerance for the aforementioned petty squabbles and the people who start them or keep them going, though. (And it’s my firm belief that the incessant squabbling is what has driven some people away from this forum, by the way, not whatever particular side of a given squabble one might be on.) I reckon it just depends on what folks here really want to do. Try to hope for the best even when there’s reason to expect the worst, I say…

To answer the specific questions you raised, Chad…

chad ks wrote:
Information on how and when to find cottonmouths in southern Illinois is obviously low hanging fruit, but information on how and when to find zonata has the potential to be damaging. Or does it?

I think both have the potential to be damaging. But I also think the potential amount of damage is very modest, and downright miniscule in comparison to other issues we could/should be addressing instead. I further think that sharing information or at least not worrying so much about sharing information offers potential good as well as potential harm, and in many cases probably more of the former than the latter.

chad ks wrote:
Would you support legislation that protects a species based on insufficient or no data?...

It depends on what kind of protection we’re talking about. More specifically, I think that stronger protections should require stronger justification, and weaker protections less justification.

chad ks wrote:
Would you support legislation that permits collection of a species without sufficient data to suggest that the collection is sustainable (this is the default position as it appears to me)?

The best way to determine and then positively affect the status of a resource is to manage it, and the most effective way to begin managing a resource not known to be at any particular risk is to allow a controlled harvest of it, so yes. Licensing and associated fees are part of a controlled harvest, though. For the record, I'm not a fan of uncontrolled harvests of any kind.

chad ks wrote:
Do you believe that posting stories and accounts of field trips is harmful to habitat and to populations because it promotes/advertises a pursuit that has the potential to become very popular (think fishing)?

I believe it’s generally not harmful in the slightest, but is instead beneficial. I recognize that there are times when it can be harmful, but as I mentioned, applying a broader perspective and reasoned priorities it is at worst a very modest harm. The situation would be extremely unusual – and already extremely precarious for reasons other than herp hunting – where more than a very modest harm could occur. Herpers simply don’t have anything like fishing’s huge drifting gill nets to use in their pursuits; the two aren’t directly comparable.

chad ks wrote:
Do you believe that posting stories and accounts of field trips is beneficial to the future of field herping because we as a community promote an ethical standard for herping (= "they're going to do it anyway, we may as well be there to show them how to do it correctly")?

I do, but more importantly in my mind, I believe we should be encouraging the growth and solidarity of the community, and sharing our experiences is a great way to do that. Yeah, I know that on a personal (read “selfish”) level it sucks to run into other herpers or see evidence of their activities at what we’ve come to think of as our spots, but it seems to me that such individual desires should rank quite low on any reasoned set of priorities. It’s not that selfish desires don’t matter at all, mind you, but they just shouldn’t matter all that much.

Unable to help being long-winded, but hoping to also be useful,

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 9:46 am 
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Kent VanSooy wrote:
Absolutely agree, yet it’s hard to not feel like a sucker when those who don’t care about the animals (or actively despise them) fire up the bulldozers and put a permanent end to a population you had been observing.


Agreed. Sometimes we just have to accept that the only actions we can control are our own. We can work like hell to influence the actions of others. But, short of a dictatorship, we can't force others to do the "right" thing.

Your bulldozer comment brings up another point. While most of us are opposed to commercial collection, it may well be counterproductive to advocate for an all out ban. If a given area is slated for development that will undoubtedly lead to the death of herps, then collection of those animals may be the most ecologically beneficial course of action. Of course, relocating the herps to suitable and underpopulated habitat would be the best option, that would often be impossible. A second option might be placing the animals with educational, research, or medical facilities. Once those options are saturated, selling the remaining animals might be in the species best interests. I can hear the screams of opposition already. Please consider the possibilities.

Here's a hypothetical scenario for you to consider or argue against: A pond containing 100 specimens of a highly protected, rare and narrowly distributed turtle with a high black market value is slated to be drained and replaced with an industrial plant. Appeals and lawsuits were brought to prevent the development, but all failed. All the remaining acceptable habitat is already fully populated with the same species. Research and educational facilities are willing to accept 50 animals for various uses. 50 remain as the dozer blade approaches. Meanwhile, it is estimated that poachers are harvesting 50 from the wild each year and selling them or their young on the black market. A private turtle breeder with no wildlife charges or convictions offers to accept all 50 excess animals and start a breeding colony to produce legal stock. He further offers to donate a considerable percentage of the offspring to research and educational facilities as their needs arise. He also agrees to work with wildlife agencies to release offspring when and if acceptable restocking opportunities arise. All he asks in return is to be able to sell a certain percentage (or any otherwise unclaimed specimens) on the open market for a reasonable profit. All of the breed stock and offspring will be thoroughly documented and pit tagged for tracking and identification by LE. All sales will be documented and reported. Subsequent sales (including future generations) by buyers will also be documented and reported. Sellers and buyers will not face risk of prosecution. Therefore, they can breed and distribute them openly. Almost immediately, the demand for illegally collected/bred specimens starts to drop. Over time the demand is almost fully satisfied by legal trade and collection pressure on wild populations drops off.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 10:16 am 
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Daryl Eby wrote:
Kent VanSooy wrote:
Absolutely agree, yet it’s hard to not feel like a sucker when those who don’t care about the animals (or actively despise them) fire up the bulldozers and put a permanent end to a population you had been observing.

Agreed. Sometimes we just have to accept that the only actions we can control are our own.

Actually, I think we should all be working hard to stop some of those bulldozers. We're far more likely to be effective as a united group than as divided individuals, though.

And I agree with your argument, Daryl, that a controlled harvest can provide an economic incentive for preserving a resource that might otherwise fall prey to the bulldozer's blade.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 2:13 pm 

Joined: June 12th, 2010, 4:32 pm
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VanAR wrote:
I think the discussion of collecting vs. noncollecting is more of a historical debate. I don't remember that being a strong issue here recently, partly because many of the former participants have moved on and partly because most of the people on here either do not collect or are not vocal about their collection.

Recently, it seems that ethical debates revolve around issues that are far more cryptic: whether handling animals at all is detrimental, whether posting photos/accounts in season is detrimental (even if localities are not given), whether disturbing animals at potentially sensitive sites is detrimental, etc.

Most of these issues can be distilled to a single point: are activities that may disturb normal herp daily lives ethical? One side argues that the risk of any disturbance should be avoided at all costs. The other side argues that there is little evidence for disturbance having a tangible impact, and is no big deal as long as significant injury is avoided.


Van



I like this post and think its valuable, and like this summary the most. I think this is the hobby evolving and getting better and its interesting to see it play out from the first post on the old site to this. Hope all the new guys read through this lots of good info.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 3:31 pm 

Joined: June 16th, 2010, 6:03 pm
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Agreed on whats been said on this being an excellent discussion with valid points all around. Though since I'm a bit short on time at the moment I'll just address a few points regarding my first statement:

Firstly . . . admittedly I can see how my comments represent a black and white view - which I know is not the case in real life. Obviously most people fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum and of course there are no absolutes - I just was using the extremes of both sides as a way to illustrate the fundamental deadlock between viewpoints. None of the vast generalizations made were meant to speak for the group as a whole . . .

VanAR wrote:
I don't think this is necessarily the case. I think almost everyone on this board thinks of themselves as a conservationist, whether they handle/harass the animals or not.
Agreed. Although I can quite honestly say that my definition of a conservationist is not on par with many who would claim themselves to be just that. One obvious example of such being the MANY people who head out on the first warm spring rain to photograph a migrating amphibian population "for the database". That same time could be (and isn't) spent keeping thousands of amphibs from being blasted at a road-crossing - and the same individuals would claim that their actions are in the interest of conservation because finds are going into the database. Its certainly a nice thing to be able to say that we as a group all support the idea of conservation, but convincing oneself of being a conservationist is not the same as being one.
Quote:
I think the hands-off philosophy is actually rooted in preservation rather than conservation. Conservationist philosophy allows/expects a certain amount of "use", or "take". In this way, the debate is analogous to collection vs. noncollection, although there are many non-collectors who freely handle herps on a regular basis.

I understand what you're saying to an extent . . . however, the most fundamental cornerstone to conservation philosophy is rooted in the actions having a direct impact on conservation - one that COUNTERACTS the negative impacts humanity has had on said plant/animal/ecosystem. Disturbing animals (for example) for the sake of prettier photo vouchers (when only an identifiable picture is EVER needed) or videos doesn't come close to being considered that. Disturbance is NOT necessary to collect data for the database. The concept of "take" included is of species whose ecology and population dynamics have been well-studied and understood (in regard to take), which is clearly not the case with most herps. "Take" of any species not well understood might be labeled conservation, but is certainly not.


Josh Holbrook wrote:
I'm afraid I've got to disagree on a few fronts. Myself and other herpers have regularly changed their viewpoint based on the input of others. That's why I love debate and discussion, it gives me the chance to refine.

And obviously an individuals herping values trump the values of others: That's a simple statement of free will (I think this is the best decision, therefore I will do it.) And I believe even if other opinions don't change a person's mind; they can still influence. I, for instance went through the stage that everyone does of having to collect EVERYTHING. People's anti-collecting arguments over the years helped me transition out of that; but I still am not opposed to collecting under certain contexts - even commercial collecting (I don't participate in it, but I'm not necessarily against people collecting exotics for profit.) Everyone should be willing to rethink and, if necessary, change their views based on interactions with others. Even with viewpoints that are repugnant or horrendous, one should still consider their merit before dismissing them.
I don't really disagree with this statement. Many people are certainly capable of changing their actions and attitudes on any given subject - in fact my own personal history reflects something similar. In my earlier stages I was an obsessive wrangler; I basically didn't consider a wildlife encounter valid unless "experienced" (aka handled) the animal. As I've learned more and become more involved in actively studying herps, my views changed. But what we both just described were the experiences of someone from beginnings to current in a relatively short period of time (lets face it, we're not that old and could at no point during this transition of philosophies be considered a herping veteran). You might find it more difficult to influence the opinions of some who were herping before you were born or since you were in diapers. But, this organization is nothing if not based in optimism, so I do think you have the right attitude in regards to moving forward.
Quote:
Bobbleton wrote:
Put plainly - when nobody is around, herpers do what they want, and for their own reasons.


Not necessarily. As much as I would love a pet Indigo Snake, I wouldn't collect/keep one if I found one whilst alone. I think there are many who agree. And once again, "their own reasons" is kind of stating the obvious: someone would be silly to do something for somebody else's reasons. Ownership of ethics is important.
Would you grab it to keep it from escaping before you got a picture? Would you pose it? If the answer is yes (the same answer almost anyone here would have, admit it or not . . . ), then you're doing just that. You respect the laws you think are valid (not collecting the thing) and ignore the ones you consider invalid (not touching it). While I agree that ownership of personal ethics is important, "doing something for someone else's reasons" is the goal of having laws in the first place, and literally the only purpose of this discussion. Its the reason you don't punch every person you think deserves it - you're respecting someone ELSE'S ethics (aka laws). The concept of getting a consensus to put together a code of herping ethics itself implies that anyone who follows it will be modifying at least SOME of their actions for someone else's reasons - we wouldn't need one if it weren't the case.



Just quickly I'd also like to comment on the "bulldozer" mention . . . just in general.

I know this isn't the context in which it was discussed, but invariably in the collecting vs no collecting argument, development is at some point used as some sort of diversionary scapegoat . . . "huge numbers of herps are killed everyday on roads and by development, but I can't collect a few snakes?!? Nonsense!!" To those who use such an argument I'd like to ask: what have you done do fight those all-powerful forces of herp-destruction? Herpers are amazingly organized and well-connected when it comes to setting up trips and finding lifers, and yet consider themselves too helpless to lift a finger against what everyone is constantly raving about as being "The REAL threats" of road mortality and habitat destruction? We can organize on a national level to go play in the woods and record our findings, but not to do something less fun and more productive. Herein lies my pessimism (realism).

All that being said, I would LOVE to be proven wrong and see everyone come to an agreement that satisfies the people and benefits the animals, and this excellent discussion (kept civil) is a great step in that direction.

-Bob


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 3:44 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
Posts: 2288
Location: Amarillo, Texas
Quote:
what have you done do fight those all-powerful forces of herp-destruction? Herpers are amazingly organized and well-connected when it comes to setting up trips and finding lifers, and yet consider themselves too helpless to lift a finger against what everyone is constantly raving about as being "The REAL threats" of road mortality and habitat destruction? We can organize on a national level to go play in the woods and record our findings, but not to do something less fun and more productive. Herein lies my pessimism (realism).
''


Buddy, if you think Texas as a state gives two shits about road mortality in herps, or that anything I do will change that in the near term, you're delusional. I try to convince people that snakes aren't evil, that the loss of thousands of crotes in Sweetwater is bad and tragic, that they have intrinsic worth...that I try to do in my personal life. Maybe after 100 years of people doing that some of the other stuff can change but right now it's pissing in the wind to try to fight habitat development--particularly when it means jobs in an economically depressed area--in the name of rattlesnakes. I'll spend mye fforts and energy where I think it might matter a damn. I spend all day at my day job fighting a fight that won't do shit long term (the poor will be with us always right? Jesus was right on that), I'm not doing the same thing outside of it. I'm nto going to argue about development right now, as much as it breaks my heart, because it will not change a damn thing except to raise resentment against "liberals" (locally apparently you have to be leftist to give a shit about the environment?). Maybe that isn't the case everywhere, but that's how it is in Amarillo.

Maybe I shouldn't be posting this but it's Friday, it's been a long week and i"m drunk and feeling pessimistic. We have to convince people that snakes are worth caring about. We don't do that by telling people they can't interact with them, or telling them that they have to forgo economic development for their sake. We do that by dispelling myths, ge3tting people to hold a snake, to appreciate the intrinsic beauty they possess, by handling one, by realizing their role in ecology. I don't know, maybe other parts of the country are better, but here, mostp eople still think the only good snake is a dead one. I'll use my pets, my photos, my knowledge (imperfect as it is) on ecology and try to change that before I worry about bigger picture stuff. Otherwise protect away, people still just practice the SSS methodology (shoot, shovel, shut up).


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 4:01 pm 

Joined: June 16th, 2010, 6:03 pm
Posts: 73
Paul White wrote:
Buddy, if you think Texas as a state gives two shits about road mortality in herps, or that anything I do will change that in the near term, you're delusional. I try to convince people that snakes aren't evil, that the loss of thousands of crotes in Sweetwater is bad and tragic, that they have intrinsic worth...that I try to do in my personal life. Maybe after 100 years of people doing that some of the other stuff can change but right now it's pissing in the wind to try to fight habitat development--particularly when it means jobs in an economically depressed area--in the name of rattlesnakes. I'll spend mye fforts and energy where I think it might matter a damn.


Might as well just throw your hands in the air, then. Or keep digging your way out of an avalanche with a toothpick. At the rate we're going, we'll have everyone in the U.S.A. educated and psyched on herps just in time to appreciate the remaining racers, garters, cottonmouths and atrox.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 4:04 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
Posts: 2288
Location: Amarillo, Texas
Not throwing my hands in the air. Just trying to change people rather than mandating legislative priorities. I suspect it offers more long term hope. It's slow but look what happens whe you try to mandate stuff from above--the clusterfuck with the mexican gray wolf reintroduction is a GREAT example of how that works out.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 4:07 pm 

Joined: June 16th, 2010, 6:03 pm
Posts: 73
I understand what you're saying, Paul. I just think herpers as a group have much more potential for impact than is acted upon (mostly out of laziness). Nothing wrong with letting the public know snakes aren't evil monsters, but its less than we could be doing and FAR less than is needed.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 5:18 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:51 am
Posts: 995
Location: Oceanside
When I mentioned the bulldozers, I had in mind a particular spot where we had observed gorgeous morphs of Cal Kings (among other critters) for years. I had also found a couple California Species of Special Concern (SSC's) on that land, which was was then slated for development, and I thought, ha! Gotcha! Now here's the thing: through the projects we've done with NAFHA, I've had the opportunity to work with and learn from various land use managers. One of them supplied me the MSCP (Multiple Species Conservation Plan) for the area, and I was taken aback to learn that the developers and local governments were well aware of the presence of the SSC's, and that the land would be developed anyway (I believe purchase of a chunk of a mitigation bank somewhere was used to, uh, offset the damage).

Sometimes we're just going to lose....but that doesn't mean it's not worth continuing to try. It's human though to allow a touch of disgust to sneak in every now and again.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 5:59 pm 
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Joined: June 27th, 2010, 12:27 pm
Posts: 963
Location: Terlingua / Marfa, Texas
Kent VanSooy wrote:
(I believe purchase of a chunk of a mitigation bank somewhere was used to, uh, offset the damage).


I guess that's better than nothing. Still, it seems like a sell out. Imagine going before a judge and jury and saying, "Yes, I killed that family, stole all their stuff and burned down their house. However, I'm willing to financially support another family. That should make everything OK."


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 6:28 pm 

Joined: June 15th, 2010, 4:23 am
Posts: 93
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
We already did that (Indian Removal Act), blacks, jews, etc. There's already a precedent set that encourages this through local govt. More development is more tax revenue (in theory not in practice) which continues the cycle. Break the cycle. Stop the local whoring of land developers.
....Yeah, I know it sounds easy in theory...
THere's no easy answer but there is a common enemy...concrete, asphalt and pesticides. Fighting it sounds like a liberal agenda...so....change how people see it. Show how shooting snakes is for pussies and real men aren't afraid of snakes....and get a girl as a spokesperson. Just a thought.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011, 9:07 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:40 pm
Posts: 489
Location: Manteca, CA
Retes wrote:
Its that I did not see it, so it did not happen.


I didn't imply that at all, and I agree with the rest of what you said. I was just stating what I have seen, which is not an opinion but simply my observations. Thus the reason why I said it even more importantly depends on the individual animal not just a species as a whole.

Just because we didn't see it happen doesn't mean it didn't happen.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 24th, 2011, 1:21 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:48 am
Posts: 353
Location: Seattle, WA
Quote:
we ought to attempt to develop a comprehensive list of ethical standards and they should be published for any newcomer to read through.


I heartily encourage this idea. I think we can affect the trajectory of this hobby if we all pull together on this. Lets do it! It would be great to have this on the HN website, and also maybe as a sticky here. Printing up free pamphlets for handing out at shows and events would be a good idea as well.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 24th, 2011, 1:42 pm 
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Joined: May 27th, 2011, 10:20 am
Posts: 27
Location: Lugares Desconocida
I promise to do my duty, to do my best , for god and my country, to be square and to obey the law of the pack.

All joking aside, I agree with Mr. Easter :thumb: .


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 24th, 2011, 3:39 pm 
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Joined: April 27th, 2011, 2:50 pm
Posts: 202
Location: Belton, Mo
I believe that more than anything habitat should be respected and protected. I don’t have a problem with collecting for someone’s personal use, not collecting to sell or trade, I think it should be done respectively and ethically i.e. only a pair from a certain locality and I believe hatchling or juveniles would be best to take for the reason they have a lower survival rate compared to mature individuals that are also currently breeding and adding to the population, that or old adults I guess. Furthermore I think if you take something from an environment you should do something positive for that specific location whatever that might be. Personally I don’t usually collect anymore, at one time I would collect something if I wanted it, and I never raped any area either though. I went from collecting to not collecting anything except photos for a long time and for the most part that’s the way I still am. I think there should be a bag limit like 5 animals per year. I know a certain area in KS that gets hit hard every year 2 areas actually one area seems to get respected more habitat wise than the other further west area, many snakes get collected and I still see many snakes at these two well-known locality’s in good numbers not like the stories I here from the 70's and 80's of 100+ milks in one outing but half that which is probably overall how everyplace is the numbers just aren’t like they use to be I think environment issues + loss of habitat for houses and a larger rate of vehicles are probably the key factors in that. I think states should adopt how KS is you buy a hunting license they have out of state licenses as well and you can collect 5 animals (not sure if that’s current?) I think people should get fined for not respecting habitat i.e. not putting a rock back or tearing apart a log whether you are collecting or not. Species with special concern should not be collected.
I think if there’s an area like Chad and I knew of a horridus den that got built on years ago timber rattlesnakes are protected in ks but they still developed it. I regret not trying to do more for this location, from the get go it seemed like we couldn’t do anything. But I think with us all out there discovering new locations we should do everything we can to protect those areas otherwise there will be fewer and fewer locations and more and more protected or extirpated animals.
Posting localities shouldn't be done I think a county is about as far as you need to go, I myself have listed regions in a county like south central, but someone else might consider my spot to be just central and there’s no way someone will find my spot by what I post. I also have decided to wait till the end of the season to make a post.
I will reiterate that respecting the habitat whether you are collecting or not should ultimately be our main goal. Rocks should be put back as best as possible, I even brush and pack dirt back around my rocks. Personally I haven’t seen an impact of returning to an area more than once a season, although I do think a limit of 3 times a season is a good rule, I know for a fact if habitat is respected the animals will still use it. The only time I’ve seen an area that had been fruitful become barren is when the habitat was disrespected time and time again, there are two places that come to my mind with this, one had ac and each time I returned I would find the carpet completely ripped away from its spot I would return it each time to find it ripped away again and I thought damn I’m fixing it so these a holes can rape this place, so I quite going there all together, the other place was a glade that rocks were not put back the best and kind of kicked around it looked like. Now I’m sure these places have the opportunity to bounce back after the idiots stop finding stuff there I’m sure they give up. But I don’t believe an animal is going to leave its habitat just because the presence of man unless the man takes it, I think that it is absurd to think if you go to a den site and photo or even pick up some rattlesnakes a couple times there going to find a new den site, I think people might be mistaking the habits of these snakes like one day there could be a lot of them out to none on a similar day proceeding the first outing, this is not because you were there a week ago. with that said I would also like to say for the most part I don't disturb hots, I think people who handle venemous just to get their picture with them is a lil idiotic, however when you lift a rock sometimes often in fact it is necassary for the snakes safety to be moved out from underneath to replace the rock, so I guess the same people who view that an animal should be only viewed would think that a rock shouldn't be lifted at all, and not lifting a rock you would only see a few snakes and data would only show the tip of the iceberg. I think some people here overreact, although I like that as opposed to the alternative :thumb: . Last fall I had found some really promissing areas and this spring I returned to find the rocks horribly abused I cant stand this.

Good post Chad
:beer:

and a teaser of my fall post to come
Image


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 24th, 2011, 5:26 pm 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
Posts: 7132
Location: Hesperia, California.
Since the only thing that people seem to be able to agree upon is that the herping community is too diverse for one set of standards to apply, I would think that the most successful approach would be to itemize the differing 'archetypes' and define what standards should ideally apply to each archetype.
Then either publicly or privately, folks could pick the one that best describes themselves, or perhaps the one they would like to be, and when confronted with 'ethical' decisions in the field, they can ask themselves... "Am I living up to the standards I've set for myself?"

I started a thread on this topic way back when (before the crash, I think) and listed a preliminary range of 'Archetypes' from the very bottom (Poacher) up to the top, which I called ...

'The Lemm'...'Professional Herpetologist working with endangered herps keeping always to the letter of the law, and maintaining the highest ethical herping standards. Those who wish to follow in Jeff's footsteps, from young kids up to Grad students, are called 'Lemmings'... :crazyeyes: :lol: :lol:

And of course, a lot of people will identify with more than one archetype, like for instance... Data collector/Photographer/Breeder... but in those cases, (IMO) one should list the types in order of one's commitment to their varying characterizations.

I for instance, would list myself as Educator/Data collector. I'd like to add Photographer/Breeder, but currently am not good enough at either to list them (although I do have Sinaloans hatching, as I type... :D ) Should I at some future time decide that I would like to identify myself as say, a 'herp photographer'... I can then refer to the agreed upon ethical ideals, we as a group have reached a concordance upon, and consider if I am in fact, willing to adopt those standards. Or at the very least...know what we as a community respect as ideal behavior for each 'branch of the hobby'.
I personally would put the 'Lemm' at the pinnacle of the list, and (of course) poachers at the bottom... but as to all the 'shades of gray' in-between, I'll resist the urge to express my opinion as to whether one rates higher than another. For, in keeping with my work in ethics, and my 'Mortal Justification: A Unifying Foundational Basis for Ethical Thought' I've been working on for a decade... no one EVER does ANYTHING they don't think is worth the expenditure of their finite yet unknown amount of 'Life's Time'. IF and when a person comes to realize they have been spending their 'time' in a less than worthy manner... they CHANGE. And often, as if to make up for 'lost time'... go WAY overboard in their new direction... Ever meet an 'On FIRE Christian'?'... :roll: :lol: :lol:
Therefore... in no particular order, a list of archetypes...
1) Herpetology/Biology Student
2) Commercial Collector
3) The Photographer
4) The Breeder
5) The Data Freak
6) The Locality Collector
7) The Author
8) The Fieldherper

And so on and so forth.... Somewhere in the hardrive of my old (94 gateway) computer, I Know I already wrote out the description of at least a dozen 'archetypes'... and had posted some of them... but no one really seemed that interested... then the crash... so, this time maybe others WILL chime in with some characterizations and accompanying 'ideals'

You may now applaud... :D jim


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 24th, 2011, 8:05 pm 
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Joined: July 20th, 2010, 4:49 pm
Posts: 422
Location: Central MD/Big Sur, CA
I am pretty new to organized herping. I have been doing my own thing for as long as I can remember though, just hiking different areas and observing whatever wildlife I came upon, with a strong preference for herps. Joining this forum about a year ago and lurking all winter just taking it all in, then actually participating in conversations and joining the NAFHA effort, has propelled me into a new world of understanding. About habitat, photography methods, species sensitivity, natural history, searching methods, and of course the ethics of interacting with wildlife. I am eternally grateful for the things I've learned and the people I've met.

BUT, my views of conservation of wildlife have not changed. It kind of makes me sad to see so many people who really care about the animals they are observing, but seem to be ignorant of the things they can actually do to protect them. Sure you can abide by a certain set of "guidlines" you set for yourself. You can report poachers, handle animals less, and refrain from collecting, keep your sites hidden from public knowledge, etc. but these, in my mind, are passive methods. These things are commendable but, I know there has to be quite a few people on here participating in more active methods, ie. Dragoncjo. From everything I have seen him say, he has the right idea. Go beyond herping and start working in ways that affect the "real world." I can't think of two things that top the charts in the real world more than 1)Money and 2)Laws.

Becoming involved with large-scale (and small-scale) organizations that are dedicated to the conservation/purchasing of habitat, reforming environmental laws, volunteerism, and pressuring companies via lawsuits are a great way. It can be as simple as donating a few dollars a month or even year to an organization that has similar goals to yours (I have been doing this for about 5 years now with Defenders of Wildlife, The Sea Turtle Conservancy, and The Nature Conservancy and my participation has been rewarding!). Just signing up to receive information on local volunteering oppurtunities, or oppurtunities to contact your local politicians regarding laws has an effect. You may not think so but it does.


Some awesome discussion here. Like Josh Holbrook was saying, posts like this really force me to look at my ethical views and adjust them accordingly. Or at the very least just keep them up there in the front of my mind.


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 25th, 2011, 11:19 am 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 8:09 pm
Posts: 509
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
wow, I enjoy these threads but they take off and there's no way I can sit and read it all (someone mentioned ADD?).

From way back, Jonathan; you have a point, North Americans do consume a lot more than Ethiopians. I for one, only have one child because I have looked at how the size of the next generation affects the planet. I'd like to say that I don't look down on others who have already had multiple offspring.

As per the list of ethics, I think someone should just type up 10 generic commandments (like returning flipped objects to original position) to get the ball rolling. Then we can discuss how to edit the list from there. In areas where there is significant controversy, find common ground.

For instance,
1. Never take animals from the wild

This of course ignores the many field herpers that have, or continue to do so. These arn't necessarily the enemies of wildlife.

Instead, a more accomodating point may be
1. Avoid taking animals from the wild. If you choose to do so, consider the effects on the local population of that species. Limit yourself to your personal needs as a herpetoculturist.

Or something like that anyhow. Since I just wrote that, I'm sure I have my own unconsious spin to it. It clearly ignores the needs of commercial collectors; are there any within Herp Nation? Should they be included?


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 25th, 2011, 11:37 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:07 am
Posts: 156
Location: Earth
Jeremiah_Easter wrote:
Quote:
we ought to attempt to develop a comprehensive list of ethical standards and they should be published for any newcomer to read through.


I heartily encourage this idea. I think we can affect the trajectory of this hobby if we all pull together on this. Lets do it! It would be great to have this on the HN website, and also maybe as a sticky here. Printing up free pamphlets for handing out at shows and events would be a good idea as well.



I agree with Jeremiah and others, the forum and NAFHA should keep a sticky of the topic or of the results where visitors can find it easily. (And maybe print it in every issue of HerpNation...) Of course, there's no guarantee anyone will follow the guidelines.

This topic was covered thoroughly before the big crash and is worth more discussion. I copied some of the previous thread before it disappeared. I also have a page which expresses my own ideas about ethics and etiquette, much of which comes from ideas expressed on the forum and from the well-known American Birding Association guidelines. These are my personal views and I don't expect everyone to agree with me and that's fine. There's too much to paste here so here's the link (corrected thanks to John):
http://www.californiaherps.com/info/fie ... thics.html

This is some of what I copied from the old forum, but I don't know if this was the original Bill Love post or the one revised after forum input:


Our good friend Bill Love, along with many of you, has authored "field herping etiquette." FHF supports this effort to better our community through public awareness of our impact on the environment, laws and regulations, and personal responsibility in the field. Special thanks to Bill, and all of you, for working on this important topic.


FIELDHERPING ETIQUETTE

With the hope of preserving our dwindling natural resources for the good of the herps (and other wildlife) present, and the continued enjoyment of fieldherping, the following code of ethics are offered. They have the endorsement of the majority of the participants on this forum. Your participation and acceptance in this forum will be facilitated by recognizing these points.

We do our best to . . .

--- minimally impact the environment. We respect nature by trying not to intentionally destroy habitat in the quest to find herps, such as prying rocks apart, debarking trees, tearing apart rotting logs, etc. We return rocks, logs, artificial cover and other forms of shelter as close as possible to their original positions after checking them so they don't lose time 'settling back' to the condition that herps find useful.

--- minimize the time and severity of handling wild herps to reduce stress and diversion from their normal behavior.

--- only take live specimens from the wild for which we or colleagues have specific needs / wants.

--- pack out everything we brought in with us; don’t leave trash.

--- seek landowners’ permission prior to entering private property.

--- obey wildlife laws.

*** In addition, the vast majority of the members of this forum frown upon large-scale (commercial) herp collection from the wild. To prevent people who visit this forum anonymously from using information gleaned here to plunder the places dear to us, we discourage posting exact localities of where you see or photograph herps. We suggest keeping localities vague in your descriptions, and avoid showing easily recognized landmarks. We encourage the sharing of information, but urge prudence by meeting fellow fieldherpers privately to discuss locality details.

END

Last edited by Bill Love on Wed Apr 25, 2007 7:14 pm; edited 3 times in total


Last edited by Gary N on September 25th, 2011, 4:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 25th, 2011, 11:55 am 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 8:09 pm
Posts: 509
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
I remember reading that. Do we need anything more involved?


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 25th, 2011, 12:22 pm 
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Joined: June 12th, 2010, 9:28 am
Posts: 348
Location: Monterey Peninsula, CA
Gary N wrote:
This topic was covered thoroughly before the big crash and is worth more discussion. I copied some of the previous thread before it disappeared. I also have a page which expresses my own ideas about ethics and etiquette, much of which comes from ideas expressed on the forum and from the well-known American Birding Association guidelines. These are my personal views and I don't expect everyone to agree with me and that's fine. There's too much to paste here so here's the link:
http://www.californiaherps.com/info/fie ... ethics.htm


That URL is off by one character. The correct URL is http://www.californiaherps.com/info/fieldherpingethics.html.

John


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 Post subject: Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)
PostPosted: September 25th, 2011, 12:28 pm 
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Joined: June 12th, 2010, 9:28 am
Posts: 348
Location: Monterey Peninsula, CA
And I should add that I find Gary’s ethics page extremely sensible, thoughtful, and thorough. It would make a good starting (or ending) point for any such list of guidelines.

John


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