The species may become extinct but will be revived by AI
Max Headroom for real
And how is one meant to recognise a “Darwinian loser” as opposed to an animal being driven towards extinction as a result of human activity and thus worthy of being saved? Are bison Darwinian losers since they don’t fit in with human farming on the great plains and thus should be left to go extinct and be replaced by pigeons and rats better suited to living off discarded corn and wheat?
Similarly in islands like NZ species thrived for millions of years until humans introduced rats and other mammals. Does that suddenly convert kiwis into Darwinian losers?
Reading comprehension is not your strong suit I see. Try reading again, more s-l-o-w-l-y.
And how is one meant to recognise a “Darwinian loser”
Look in the mirror?
🤣 🤣 🤣
(Apologies Izaak, I couldn’t resist)
One who can’t recognize a Darwin Loser probably has self-identified as a candidate. Time will tell.
Izaak ==> Yes, how would you? It is an interesting question, which environmental biologists should be asking. The so-called Red Wolf is an example of making the wrong call. The Norther Spotted Owl is another.
The Great Plains Bison subspecies was a Darwinian loser, as it could not co-exist with the needs of humans to plow and plant the great American mid-West. By passing laws forbidding further wholesale slaughter and providing protected areas for small herds, the American Bison is not extinct (but actually needs culling on occasion)– but it is no longer the same sub-species (by behavior, more like the Wood Bison of previous centuries). That humans were the competing species is not particularly important. We are not going to mandate allowing the great plains to return to is 1600 state. Darwin at work.
NZ falls under the small islands rule — species that have developed on small self-contained habitats — like islands — can not stand disturbances, especially non-native predators. In NZs case — pigs, cats, dogs, rats (and a few more). It is possible, with enough political will, to mount campaigns to eliminate the invasive species in an attempt to recover the native fauna. And NZ is doing so on some places.
That is possible because humans do not have a need for the cats, rats, dogs etc. Thus, the situation being “accidental”, we can try to fix it if we can.
What we can’t fix is “humanity as a biological force”.
This essay is not about such accidents — it is about intentional killing to extinction of species.
The story of the bison is more complicated than most people realize. It gets even crazier.
What did the father buffalo say when his kid left to go to college?
Kip, the trouble is that your definition of a Darwinian loser is not particularly useful or objective. Humans might well be a biological force but they don’t act in any consistent way. So in the US for example species that fall under your definition of “Darwinian losers” would probably change every 4 years depending on who is running the EPA. And every time human behaviour changes or we decide which species are warm and fluffy then species go from being Darwinian losers to Darwinian winners and so how is anyone meant to know which ones to conserve?
Izaak ==> Yes, which ones to conserve and how to conserve them and can they be conserved or not?
All fine questions — and the best of science and social sciences should be applied to help EPA make those decisions.
And EPA should beheld to strict public accountability for those decisions — and none of those decisions should be political in any way. It is quite possible that many of the decisions should be left to the states in which subject species live.
But you are quite right too about warm and fuzzy creatures. If the people want the warm and fuzzy them we should save and protect them. Why not?
And if the people don’t want their cattle, and pets, devoured by wolves then we should not insist on protecting them where they are not wanted.
If the Spotted Owl cannot compete against the Barred Owl, then we should not interfere to help the one and hinder the other.
But really, this essay is not meant to be a discourse on Darwin or which species to bother ourselves with, but rather on the first principle of species protection: Quit Intentionally Killing Them.
Beg pardon, Kip, delete the following if too OT,
Identification of Bison as an evolutionary loser is premature. Several populations are adapted to coexistence with mankind, after a great population reduction. The small number of individuals adapted to coexist with humans is predicted by evolutionary theory. The bIson species (more a subspecies of Aurochs, like most cattle) is becoming a human species symbiont: supplying meat and dairy (mozzarella) in exchange for an opportunity to breed with fewer other predators and less loss to disease.
A red wolf is genetically little different from a terrier, and can often interbreed without “muling out.” The dog/wolf species is adapted, even if a wolf variety becomes extinct.
Kiwi and Dodo are examples of extinction, but imagining them as having stable population before human interaction is a non-scientific assumption at best. Coincidence actually means “happened at the same time,” and is merely a general statement of observation, not attribution. An assumption of blame is the taking on of the symbolic virtue of wearing of sack cloth and eating ashes: “I’ve repented and the rest of you sinners are doomed” — source of my disdain for the aescetic, whining, lying Sir David, above. Ask an Attenburro to show scientific proof of their theory of Kiwi or Dodo extinction, and he/she/it will usually offer only coincidence and supercilious disdain.
Adaptation isn’t an option for many truly endangered species. Legislated protection may be a way for coexistence. But power to protect animals, plants, insects, fungi, bacteria exercised at the expense of human liberty and well-being must be continuously challenged and biased in favor of humans.
dk ==> The Plains Bison cannot exist as they were because humans have converted the plains into farms — so the Plains Bison has lost the Darwinian battle with the Humans. They will never ever reclaim their predominance over the Great Plains.
That’s all. Not saying that is a Good or Bad thing, it is just a fact,
First, thanks for thecourtesy of ignoring my mistake — I twice wrote Kiwi while thinking about Moa. Edited about five times and still missed it until just now, long past the capability to edit. Administering self-dope-slap.
You are perfectly correct in that the state of Bison, before european arrival, can and will never be restored on the scale it once was. But those small Bison herds now in managed habitats aren’t so different, even though management of the habitat is a deliberate charitable endeavor by a relatively few humans. It is not a survival strategy, unless some major simultaneous depletion of human and cattle population in North America provides an opportunity to expand beyond e.g. Yellowstone. Otherwise, if not an evolutionary dead end, it is unlikely to produce drastic further evolutionary change.
But domestication is one form of biological mutualism, an interaction beneficial to two or more species. Mutualism is a strategy for survival: by working into an existing niche, domesticated bison begin to evolve along the same lines as have cattle, becoming nearly symbiotic with humans.
IW, your answer is hidden within your query. Unless you believe that humans are not part of nature, then our actions are not unique from the actions of any species who—whether alone or in concert with other species—displaces another, perhaps to the point of extinction.
Yes, kiwis are “Darwinian losers.” But beyond the fact that we seem to be accelerating the speed of species migration, can one ascribe the “blame” entirely to humans? No, but like the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” one can always find a link, or an association, and as we know, association does not necessarily mean causation.
We often hear that species like rats, pigeons, and cockroaches will “inherit the earth.” I’m not sure what that tells us beyond revealing our own sense of frailty as a species (or perhaps that these species are somehow an extension of the human species’ own wickedness). But nature doesn’t see it this way—the “cruelty” of nature is the flip side of its beauty. We cannot protect the latter without recognizing the former.
I agree with the author’s suggestion that we should be more thoughtful in how we protect against species loss.
I like your comment that, “We can’t recover a Darwinian losing species.”
Wikipedia has a nice article on whooping cranes which says, “…whooping cranes don’t swallow gizzard stones and digest grains less efficiently than sandhill cranes.”
Wikipedia’s article on the Ivory Billed Woodpecker says, “The bird’s preferred diet consists of large beetle larvae, particularly wood-boring Cerambycidae beetles, supplemented by vegetable matter…”
Wikipedia says, “Pileated woodpeckers mainly eat insects, especially carpenter ants and wood-boring beetle larvae. They also eat fruits, nuts, and berries, including poison ivy berries,”
Regarding beavers: A while back some sort of official in government naturalist garb was poking around in the back yard. When asked what he was doing, the answer was, “Beavers” It seems that our little village doesn’t want them. I’m guessing that’s true for a lot of communities.
Panda’s eat only bamboo and are very reluctant in mating: the perfect recipe for extinction when the bamboo habitat is destroyed by a growing chinese population.
Steve ==> Oh boy — beavers. The problem with beavers is that they don;t need restoring — they are perfectly happy to restore themselves if we stop or limit the killing of them. My take here and here.
Beavers DID need restoring along with wild turkeys, deer, elk, mink, fisher, otters, etc. etc., by the beginning of the 20th century.
Like all of the recovered populations, Pittman-Robertson supplied the motivation and funds for their recovery.
Nowadays, beaver like mink are farmed for their fur. Though the best furs are still from wild animals living in cold environs.
Even then, it takes time and effort to aid the restoration of these animals that were extirpated over most of their range.
Although slightly off subject, I was disappointed that the primary killing machines of animals were not mentioned:
They are the bird and bat shredders,
sometimes known as windmills.
Every shredder is an unnecessary addition to an electric grid that will kill insects, that attract small birds, who will be shredded, which will attract big birds, who will be shredded, and some of them will be eaten by animal predators.
The carnage will be HUGE, but much of it may be “cleaned up” by nature, so that it will only seem large by the time the deaths are counted.
Also, there are the whale killings from offshore seabird shredders.
These are not rare animals. But killing animals for no purpose is the actual subject of this article. Doing that is horrible, whether they could be going extinct or not.
Environmentalists could not care less
They are hypocrites.
They also ignore water, land and air pollution in Asia, especially China and India.
And they ignore almost one billion people with no electricity, or sporadic electricity.
My wish is that the current batch of “environmentalists” — those who demonize CO2 in an attempt to control the private sector of every economy — become extinct.
… and insecticides (“roundup”) are blamed for the lack of bees in Europe.
Glyphosate (Roundup) is a herbicide.
Still “roundup” is blamed by the greens 🙂
«I don’t know whether it’s a herbicide or pesticide, but surely the infidels who doubt absolute and infallible benevolence of Monsanto must be summarily dismissed»? Yes, that is quite telling.
To say nothing of the cause-du-jour, microplastics:
The effect on animal populations of windmills is far less than negligible. 99.9999% of all bird kills are due to flying into buildings and vehicles, and domestic cats. Proven by decades of data. Indeed, the one bird held up as a symbol of the evils of windmills – the American bald eagle – has increased its population by more than 400% over just one decade, at the very same time that wind turbines increased their numbers by a similar percentage in the 2010s.
After you’ve eliminated all of the world’s building, vehicles, and domestic cats, then come looking for the windmills.
I cannot believe anti warmunists are so stupid as to believe windmills are dangerous to animals! Ridiculous! And I am an anti-warmunist.
Get a clue – stick to real science not fake science
“I cannot believe anti warmunists are so stupid as to believe windmills are dangerous to animals.”
Even though I’ve posted the Bird Chopper a few times, you’re probably right. Jesus said “Render unto Caeser what is Caeser’s …”
Making claims that aren’t true isn’t good policy. However the Climate Cult does it all the time.
Yes White-tailed eagles are killed by wind turbines and not by buildings, cars or cats in the Netherlands
Duane ==> The concern over windmills is usually with the deaths of so many large raptors — which are not prone to flying into buildings and more likely to eat a cat than be killed by one. Large raptors breed slowly thus the loss of those killed by windmills is concerning.
Read some real information about the state of large raptors in North America.
A large, old, sick and tall evergreen tree on Banbridge Island (Washington State, USA) had to be cut down due to the risk of it falling over and killing people. There was an old Eagles nest in the upper portion of the tree. 31 cat collars were found in the nest.
Oh right – stick to real science not fake science. What real science are you referring to? CO2 is a pollutant type science. The Covid vaccine PREVENTS infection type science? That kinda real science?
There 10’s of millions buildings/cars etc. Compared to a few thousand windmills.
Of course more buildings and cars account for more deaths. But only a total idiot would proclaim that this proves windmills are harmless.
Anyway, birds and buildings mostly kill song birds while windmills primarily kill endangered raptors.
The Bald Eagle was still recovering after hunting them was banned. When studying something, you have to examine all the factors, not just the ones that support your conclusions. We aren’t doing climate science here.
Did you know that our president does not have any power whatsoever to impact oil & gasoline prices!!!?
Did you know that the 2007 estimate of eagle population didn’t count the two little recently hatched birds that were in the nest? Do you know how easy it is to skew a statistical 400% by leaving a 60,000 count out of the baseline estimate? (it works the same way for historic temperature estimates)
does not have any power whatsoever to impact oil & gasoline prices!
Self-evidently false. El Demento is the latest to hold sole power, granted by an ever more inept congress, over the National Petroleum Reserve. The last release from same specifically announced by the White elephant House as a move to reduce petroleum prices for consumers. The same gent gets to decide when to re-stock the reserve, also affecting price.
This particular President also exercised executive powers to stop exploration, illegally stop oil leases, and stop pipelines He has also vowed to stop coal. He is using executive power through administrative agencies (e.g. EPA, Treasury) to drive up consumer costs of gas, petroleum, and coal. Worldwide, the current White House resident has also driven up international trade prices and restricted trade through histrionically clumsy negotiations and inciting proxy conflict..
That was just my childish jab at Duane for his repeated ridiculous statements of the same thing.
”…anti warmunists are so stupid as to believe windmills are dangerous to animals”
Cars, cats and skyscrapers don’t kill Eagles, but 60 m wind turbine blades with their tips travelling at 350 Kph routinely smash them out of existence.
By your logic it’s also fine to kill a bunch of rhinos because mammals are killed by the billions by domestic cats.
Are you that clueless or do you know that your argument as idiotic?
Also going extinct:
Leftists with inintelligence and integrity.
I don’t think that was ever a species
Redge ==> Well, anything can be labeled a sub-species today.
Perhaps they are a separate species. Their brains are definitely wired differently.
They should have limited hunting- enough to keep the population under control.
Hans ==> And that is a very good point. The people need to decide if the wolf, as a free-roaming species, should be allowed back into the human-dominated environment. Under strict Darwin, it does not have a RIGHT to be there, just because it was there in the past.
Coyotes are more of a problem than wolves.
I don’t believe coyotes can bring down sheep and horses.
They are smaller and don’t hunt in packs.
«Gosh golly, a local have seen a coyote walking nose to the ground, it’s a fluffin’ Apocalypse». Do the locals walking their dogs happen to be the sort of primates incapable of using a stick? And what would they do if there was a pack of wild dogs around?
The linked blog post suggests to me the problem, such as it is, was caused mostly by excessive soy consumption among the locals, or maybe long-term effect from overuse of warning signs. IMHO.
I’m OK with the general theme of your report, Kip, but the problem I personally know is the tendency of “environmentalists against everything” to weaponize issues of animal population declines. Growing up in Oregon, in Douglas County, the heart of timber production, the logging enhanced the habitat for deer and elk, which populations flourished, then the Spotted Owl issue came along. Before the issue was clearly understood a halt was placed on logging. The issue never resolved itself in time to save the industry, and now Canada sells lumber to the US at triple the price. The same groups seized onto the Sage Grouse in northern Nevada to stop mining and ranching activities, and for several years the Sage Grouse was an “indicator species”, that had to be considered in environmental permits, but you could still shoot and eat them.
Enviro lunatics here in the northeast want to stop ALL forestry- with a fantasy theory called proforestation- which claims that all trees should be left to grow old to store carbon. It’s a dumb idea. For one thing- we need wood products. And, old trees tend to be hollow and are slowly rotting. And, forests can only hold so much wood- the full potential is trivial compared to the amount of CO2 assuming that gas is even a problem, which it ain’t. They are spreading this proforestation idea around the world.
Joseph ==> Siberia has enough wood (trees) for all of Europe, just as Russia conquered areas have plenty of oil and natural gas.
You guys just have to decide what is important.
not really- much of the wood resource in Siberia is small conifers- slow growing and very, very difficult of access- in total volume, yes, in economic potential not so great- but China is looking in that direction- which is what Russia should be paying attention to- more than Ukraine- not sure what your point is regarding “what is important”
Joseph ==> That’s not what the FAO says: https://www.timbertradeportal.com/en/russia/103/timber-sector
I didn’t say Russia wasn’t a big producer of timber- but still, much of Siberia is inaccessible and who the heck would want to be a logger there? And, most of it is conifers which aren’t nearly as valuable as hardwood. They had been shipping logs and finished wood products to North America too- I presume that’s now stopped. And notice that site says, “Although forests occupy over half of the country’s land, the economic role of the forestry sector for Russia is limited.” It just isn’t worth much. Low quality wood, in a difficult area, shipped vast distances. I can presume the loggers are paid a bare subsistence wage- though now they can get a “good job” fighting in Ukraine. 🙂 Another thing- they’re just raping the forests. It’s not real forestry with a concern for the future forest, protection of other resources like wetlands, wildlife, etc.
Also, much of Russia is NOT Siberia- everything west of the Urals. That article says, “The Russian Federation is also one of the largest producers and exporters of industrial roundwood in the world, and the country also exports significant volumes of sawnwood, plywood and pulp and paper.” Much of western Russia is also forest land and I suspect most of the wood that got exported to Europe and North America and much of the wood value is in the non Siberian part of Russia. China is eyeing the entire Siberian forest since it has so little. Russia should be worried.
Still not sure what your point is regarding “what is important”. I presume you’re not defending the proforestation idea. It’s anti forestry- pro climate alarmist.
Joseph ==> “what is important” just refers to the problem of Russia being a source of needed imports of things Europe has “run out” of. Whether to import Russian natural gas and lumber, despite Russia being an almost declared enemy.
Ron ==> What you say is what I say, more or less. Forbidding activities in broad swaths of the country is exactly what they shouldn’t do. What they should do is forbid killing them intentionally. If the sage grouse can’t co-exist with ranching and mining, then it is a Darwinian loser in that area.
Kip thanks for the trip down memory lane
I reading only this week about wolves in Belgium. Apparently there are a couple of packs after a hundred years absence.
Being a wild predator and protected they are making a comeback across Europe and taking sheep as a soft target.
Chinese medicine, when I worked as deerstalking gillie on a large estate in Perthshire they culled about 120 stags a year, as an aside the population still increased despite culling both stags and hinds, we used to keep the antlers to sell to a dealer who resold for Chinese medicine. But then in the 70s we also had to remove the stags equipment still attached to a section of bone as that was worth considerably more.
There was always a bit of banter between Shepherds and gamekeepers on who brought more money into the estate. The deer being sold to game dealers and exported to Europe, mainly Germany, but there weren’t many paying guests. I guess Brexit has added cost to the export business with additional paperwork, which existed in the 1960s and 1970s.
We did see threaten species Golden Eagles regularly as there were a nesting pair on the estate, and occasionally Scottish Wildcats but only very rarely and briefly.
Rewilding is full of problems and not easy. The reintroduction of Sea Eagles to Scotland has caused similar issues to the natural return of wolves to Belgium. Sheep and lambs are a plentiful and easy source of food for a predator
“Being a wild predator and protected they are making a comeback across Europe and taking sheep as a soft target.”
isn’t that why “sheep dogs” exist? or is it just to herd the sheep? Somewhere I read that there are some type of dogs who can scare off wolves.
The problem now is also horses in open paddocks as horse riding is now available for the masses. Horse owners don’t sleep well these days. Any suggestions?
Joseph ==> Almost nothing can scare off a starving wolf — as many tales of the Alaskan wild remind us. The dog is just as likely to become prey.
When predators are re-introduced, what they will kill and eat must be considered. If there is not enough wildlife prey for them, which humans are willing to let them eat, then they will look to domesticated animals to eat. But they must and therefore will eat.
they can easily be kept under control- that is the numbers low with hunting- with hunting, all predators are fearful of humans- so some sheep or whatever will be lost- but personally, I don’t really care one way or the other- there are enough wilderness areas in the world for the wolves so I’m not one pushing to return them everywhere, especially where cattle are a major industry- I’m not into the rewilding thing- especially grizzlies- which are really scary! When I went on ranger hikes in Yellowstone I made sure that if a grizzly showed up- the crowd and the ranger would be between me and the grizzly
isn’t that why “sheep dogs” exist? or is it just to herd the sheep?
They basically fall into the 2 categories – guard dogs and herding/working the sheep.
The larger breeds were guard dogs, smaller breeds such as Border Collies and Kelpies are for getting the sheep to go where you want them to.
Ben ==> Thanks for the stories…great stuff.
Re-wilding is a fine idea but it requires a “wild land” to re-wild. You can’t re-wild a megalopolis. You can’t re-wild America’s mid-west breadbasket.
buckeye ==> Impressive they certainly are.
QO ==> Maybe …. “Some people refer to tigers who live where it snows, as Snow Tigers, but that would be Siberian Tigers which are also known as Amur Tigers. ”
So many words, so many confusing labels.
The snow leopard suffers the same fate as all the big cats.
The world’s largest rodent eradication project has been declared a success, with the UK territory of South Georgia Island rat-free for the first time in more than 200 years.
Helicopters helped lay rat bait over 1087 sq km (108,723 hectares) of the south Atlantic island in three phases, beginning in 2011.
John ==> Yes, it can be done. Alaska has had several successes removing rats and foxes.
I sat through all the local wolf reintroduction hearings back in the 90’s over in Helena MT.
Those are archived so this can be checked if you wish. Almost everything the reintroduction
agency people said was false. They said wolves were going to keep the bison population
In Yellowstone Park in check which didn’t happen. What did happen is that the elk population
crashed. They imported timber wolves from Canada. The Buffalo wolves they supposed
to be reintroducing were made extinct in the early days. They said the wolves only kill the sick and old…—BS— They kill the young elk and when the population gets old it crashes..
see the data from Idaho’s wolf policy review in 2020, the Lolo elk herd was at 25K in 2000 it’s now less than 2500.
I have had a front row seat to the reintroduction and have made a number of observations.
One is the wolf/coyote crossbreds. We now have packs of coywolves which are 80-90
lb killing machines. The agency folks don’t seem to want to even admit they exist, but
they are real. When a ADC guy traps a problem wolf they take a hair sample and DNA
test it.. I can explain this in detail if you wish.
I live in the mountains in WC MT and have seen first hand the
impacts of this reintroduction. Keep in mind that the wolf was never in danger of going
extinct, they just seemed to be playing God in Yellowstone. The first impact I personally
witnessed was about 10-15 yrs ago. I went to empty the trash after dinner out to the garage
in the evening in early spring. I was shocked to see several dozen cow elk bedded down
next to the garage. It was the wolves that did that. They got up in the morning and dropped
over the bench to the river bottom for the day and came back that night. There are large
winter elk range areas such as along the Madison river south of Ennis or the Blackfoot
area around Ovando where the elk quit leaving the winter range and now live year round
on the normal winter range.
Try growing a hay crop for your cattle with several thousand elk on your hay ground.
Then the grizzly bears come down to feed on the calves….
And speaking of grizzly bears you should spend some time in my neighborhood.
We have one of the highest car deer collision rates in the country. The governments
solution is mt lions. We have a large mt lion population which hunts the deer. When
a cat kills a deer it leaves a carcass which becomes an attractant for the grizzly bears.
I have on average removed 2-3 deer carcass’s every summer for the past few years.
You haven’t lived till you have walked down into a creek bottom a few hundred yards
from your house smelling something dead in grizzly country. Something out of Capstick’s
Death in the Longgrass. Shotgun at low ready, buckshot in the chamber, safety off, finger
on the trigger. Take a step and pause….You should try it sometime…late in evening.
Too long of a post but at the end of the day I’m a steward of the land…but there
is more than one side of an issue.
Mr. Ed ==> Thanks for your personal experience with re-introductions. Good story.
There is a rancher gal north of Conrad Mt that has a very good way with
words, Lisa Schmidt. Prairie Ponderings is her byline.
I’ve been enjoying her views and wisdom for years. Good stuff.
I’ve seen about two Eagles this week.
I live in cattle country and every year at this time the females give birth. How eagles know this is a mystery to me but prior to the events eagles begin showing up. They wait in the trees and then come to the ground to clean up the pasture of the “after-birth”.
two dozen Eagles -cripes, sorry
We have some freshwater salmon that run every fall. Dozens of
eagles seem to know when to show up. I also have a few that would
feed on wild ducks that come in to the barnyard in the winter when there
is some haybarley seed on the ground. They come in and swoop down
and grab a duck and fly over my head nearly at arms length…unreal.
John ==> ain’t Nature interesting? Always fascinates me.
“Famously, the passenger pigeon, that had boomed to astonishing numbers in the Eastern United States, was hunted to extinction in the late 1800s. ” Wrong the passenger pigeons lost the oak forest in the Ohio river valley(which are now corn fields) without those trees for nesting and feed in the fall they were doomed. Hunting had little to do with the passenger pigeon demise, lose of habitat was everything.
Mark ==> Well, not everyone agrees. Certainly not Audubon. Certainly, the general deforestation of North American East of the Rockies contributed.
Audubon is not a disinterested source.
They push global warming relentlessly and the local chapters, with many aging members, take up the cudgel.
John ==> Their viewpoint on AGW influences their reasoning on the hunting of the passenger pigeon a hundred years ago?
How many sources do you want? The supply is endless.
Bolivia has a similar problem today with declining numbers of its big cats. And the decline is caused by what/whom? Chinese poachers of course killing the cats to send their bits back to China as medicines or good luck tokens. And what does the government do? SFA of course so it doesn’t offend its Chinese masters.
John ==> A great deal of the problems of today’s wildlife is the huge demand created by the billions of Chinese and East Asians for rare and exotic bits of wildlife — the law of supply and demand make for high prices. The more protection these various animals get, the less supply there is, and the higher the prices, increasing the pressure on already depleted populations.
We need to stop killing the animals in the forests. Stopping logging to save the spotted owls resulted in fare fewer access roads into the forests that would help the fire services fight wildfires. Also, there are fewer fire breaks.
So, efforts to save the spotted owl has resulted increased animal deaths due to wildfires.
ER ==> Yes, it is almost always the case that unscientific misguided efforts to correct some imagined fault of nature results in even worse unintended consequences.
One of the reasons that this is so is that the “unscientific misguided efforts are susually solving the wrong (or a nonexistent) problem. Unknown and unacknowledged at the time was the fact that the Spotteds were being out-competed by the Barred Owls. Some biologists called the Barred Owl an “invasive species” — by which they mean that the Barred is taking over the territory of the Spotted.
We pay the price of that egregious error at the lumber yard in the the prices of new homes in the US.
Kip: Can’t disagree with you about large mammals with low reproductive rates or species targeted for plumes or pelts that are driven by fashion demands – the data seems incontrovertible to me. Stop shooting polar bears and, amazingly!!!, their populations recover. Same with egrets, as I recall, and with beavers – although many flooded out property owners may not be so happy with their recovery. You should do an essay on beavers – the complicated interaction between beavers and their associates (including us) is fascinating.
For most of nature, though, habitat protection is the only way to conserve species over time. Most people don’t even know that most species exist: habitat destruction is far more dangerous to ecosystems than hunting. My understanding of Passenger Pigeons is a case in point – it wasn’t just the overhunting that killed them off, it was also the habitat destruction and one wonders if introduced disease wasn’t also part of it. Hunting was finally limited, but by then it was too late for reasons not entirely clear.
Same with the Tasmanian Tiger. Bounties were called off, but habitat destruction – including the introduction of exotic distempers – seems to be what finally killed off the Tiger. Something very similar seems to be happening now with the facial tumour disease of Tasmanian Devils. It is not as simple as regulating hunting. There do need to be refugia where core populations can have a chance to evolve resistance to introduced disease and adapt to their new human neighbours.
A) There is hunting, subsistence hunting and hunting for the markets.
i) Hunting is for food and sport. Yes! The two are not contradictory.
ii) Subsistence hunting is hunting for food and often means not wasting an ounce of the animal.
iii) Hunting for the markets means the hunter is solely interested in cash per dead animal.
B) Back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, hunters sought an end to market gunners killing every last animal in their greed. Hunters willingly established taxes, game stamps, hunting licenses to bring back species back from the brink.
i) Passenger pigeons were extirpated by market gunners not hunters hunting food.
ii) The Pittman-Robertson Act set excise taxes to:
a) fund prosecution of violators
b) Fund animal protection, habitat protection and species recovery.
c) Establish and enforce game protection laws
C) This worked so well that fishermen sought to implement the same funding, enforcement, seasons, bag restrictions and habitat improvements for fish.
The Sports Fishermen were so impressed by the Pittman-Robertson Act that they organized and sought a similar Act to protect fish.
All of the funds used to aid or protect wildlife in the America’s comes from the combined taxes collected of the Pittman-Robertson Act and the Sportfish restoration Act.
As the years went by, hunting clubs sought to fully protect Migratory birds. Quite a few of the migratory birds species have their main breeding period during the summer migration in Canada’s far north.
To protect these breeding grounds, clubs were established, e.g., Ducks Unlimited, that utilized club member dues to purchase or lease far northern properties to protect waterfowl summer breeding.
It is this combination that enabled the amazing story of waterfowl recovery.
Bison were decimated because the military wanted the Native American food and household supplies sources destroyed, supported by territorial and state governments. Bison supplied meat, hides and bone to the Native American’s migratory lifestyle.
Market gunners were encouraged to kill bison any way they could.
There were no refrigerated train cars back then, making transport of meat or hides risky. So, the market gunners sought high value animal portions to transport back to the East Coast cities. This is where train cars carrying nothing but bison tongues for the New York market stories are derived.
Bison hides have value only if they are handled correctly immediately after harvest. The tongue was high value and processed first. Hides were processed by laborers, muleskinners who removed the hide, defatted and salted the hide, that then could be shipped to tanners in the east.
Bison hides, meat, organs and bones were left to rot.
Hunters and sport fishers supported and still support species restoration.
All animals that have recovered population or habitat are in recovery because of funds supplied by funds from the two Acts.
ATheoK ==> Oh, I am fully aware of the work of hunting taxes and fees in restoration efforts — much of it very good. (Note that the EPA is not involved in any of that). My sons are ardent hunters and fishermen and love to pay their fair share for Hunting Licences and Fishing Licences.
Further, they are careful to abide by the rules and limits.
In New York state, hunting is used to control populations numbers within limits of the habitat to support. If some weren’t hunted, then hard winters would (and have) resulted in widespread starvation (in some cases avoided by efforts to feed wild herds.
My essay is about species threatened with extinction, not those that are being carefully maintained.
Rampant killing — for any of the reasons given — is what I argue against.
The same enviro-radicals that are pushing the climate change narrative are behind the
endangered species activities in this country. The financial impacts on the agriculture
are not often discussed. When a ag producer loses $1 he has to make $7 back to
just break even. Most of that cost is on the producer. Even when there is no direct
loss it is seen when they market their livestock crop. The calves/lambs are sold
by the lb. The larger operations have detailed production records and can point
out the losses. Here is a headline from ’09—> Wolves kill 120 sheep at ranch near Dillon
Now do some simple math—>120×350=42,000. Now apply the $7 factor. $294,000.
This is never mentioned in the media or even on a forum like this.
Best Extinction Prevention Plan? Quit Killing Them
Comment by Kip Hansen — 17 March 2023
The environmental protection world, and the world in general, has been going nuts over the issue of species extinction. Desperate to prevent these extinctions (of which there are very few examples other than on small islands [pdf]) societies are hampered by laws and regulations that do little to actually protect the target species, but rather protect their so-called habitats (which is not the same thing).
Famous was the mandated protection of the habitat of the Northern Spotted Owl which caused massive disruption of the logging industry in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Today it is recognized that the decline of the Northern Spotted Owl was probably caused more by competition with the Barred Owl, it being the Darwinian winner. (also here).
In the news most recently are, of course, Polar Bears. In the 1950s through the 1970s, polar bear populations were down-trending, according to the peoples that live in polar bear country. Why? Polar bears were being shot by humans….not just for self-protection (polar bears can be very dangerous and do not make good neighbors) but for sport and for their skins to decorate government offices and woodsy cabins, polar bear heads to mount on the walls of the great white hunter types.
Then there are the big cats and predators – worldwide. The killing of tigers, cougars, lynx, snow tigers, jaguars, leopards, bears – you get the idea. Much of this killing is done out of fear – tigers do attack and kill humans in India and Southeast Asia. But, again, much of it was done in the past and still is done in the present for sport and trophies. Further, Chinese/Asian folk medicine drives a market for various body parts of these same animals – this drives the hunting of them by native hunters – poor hunters – who can make a great deal of money selling parts of a single tiger – and they do so, protected or not.
Famously, the passenger pigeon, that had boomed to astonishing numbers in the Eastern United States, was hunted to extinction in the late 1800s.
Another historic danger to species has been commercial value. Beavers for their pelts which are soft and warm and were used to supply the basic material huge beaver hat craze in Europe of the time). Whales of all sorts for their blubber, to make whale oil for lamps. Seals for their blubber and for their pelts. Pictured here is a Harp Seal pup – which can be clubbed to death by the hundreds of thousands annually. Despite the magnitude of killing, the harp seal remains as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List.
In the United States, the American Bison gives a well-known example, hunted to near extinction. Similar is the sub-species known as the Wood Buffalo (Wood Bison – Bison bison athabascae) The vast herds of plains bison were hunted for their meat and for their skins. Many legends exist about the bison, both among the European settlers and the “native American” tribal people. Not all of them represent factual history.
An example of Killing to Extinction is the near-miss demise of the Northern elephant seal of California. If you haven’t seen a male elephant seal the wild, you have really missed something. “The huge male northern elephant seal typically weighs 1,500–2,300 kg (3,300–5,100 lb) and measures 4–5 m (13–16 ft), although some males can weigh up to 3,700 kg (8,200 lb)” [ wiki ) There is a Live Rookery Cam available at the website of the Friends of the Elephant Seal.
Soumya Karlamangla, who writes for the California Today newsletter of the New York Times (why they have such a newsletter is a question we might ask), gives us some of the details in a 16 March 2023 piece titled: How California’s Elephant Seals Made a Remarkable Recovery.
“The seals were hunted so much for their blubber, coveted by humans as a source of fuel, that between 1884 and 1892, not a single northern elephant seal was seen anywhere in the world, according to the National Park Service.
Then a small colony of elephant seals was found on Guadalupe Island off the coast of Baja California in Mexico. After laws were enacted in Mexico and the United States banned hunting of elephant seals [ in the early 20th century – around 1930] , that colony — estimated to have dwindled to fewer than 100 animals — was able to keep reproducing, and the population rebounded.”
Today, the estimated population size (2020) is 175,000.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) currently reports:
“The Northern Elephant Seal has recovered from near extinction and population growth is expected to continue over the coming decades. Due to its large and increasing population, expanding range and lack of foreseeable threats, the Northern Elephant Seal is listed as Least Concern….. Northern Elephant Seals were a prime target for commercial sealing, and the population was nearly extirpated by hunting during 1818-1869. Due to their pelagic nature, the fact that most animals spend 80% or more of their lives at sea, and that they do all not return to their rookeries at the same time, a few individuals were able to survive the wholesale slaughters at rookery sites. By 1890 only one group of about 100 animals was known to exist (Bartholomew and Hubbs 1990). Following a slow recovery in the early 1900s, Northern Elephant Seals recolonized formerly used sites throughout the 1980s. The total population size in 2010 was estimated to be between 210,000 and 239,000 animals (Lowry et al. 2014)”
How to Protect and Promote Recovery of Near-Extinctions?
For mammals and birds, at least, the answer is so easy that it can be overlooked:
Stop Intentionally Killing Them
This should always be the first action taken for any Endangered Species. And it is often sufficient as long as recovery of the species is in the game plan of Nature. We can’t recover a Darwinian losing species. We can prolong its demise, but as Darwin taught, the survivors survive, and the non-survivors don’t.
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After all the societal shock caused by Darwin’s theories and the use of those theories to bludgeon religion and philosophy (quite improperly, it turns out), the one scientific field that should be most affected by it is Environmental Science. Yet, even now, environmentalists seem to fail to understand the most basic principle of Darwinism: The survivors survive to breed and produce more of their kind. As is and always was.
Silly attempts are made to try to protect Darwinian losers — those species that no longer quite fit in. Darwinian losers decline and species more suitable, more adapted to current conditions, thrive and take their place in the world.
Don’t think so? Consider the efforts to “Save the Red Wolf!” which, because it is not a species (or even real subspecies) will never be successful in the wild. (my take here)
I am not saying that there should be no efforts to protect habitat, there should be, but these should be broad efforts coupled with wilderness protection, wild lands, etc. Never should there be the idiocy seen in the snail darter incident. After all the battles, to the Supreme Court, the efforts to save the snail darter were found to have been unnecessary due to “the subsequent discovery of other natural populations.”
Thanks for reading.
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