WHO IS REALLY HELPING CONSERVATION?

Posted on: December 9, 2014 11:34 am

Wild Animal Conservation

 

I get questions all the time about difference Conservation issues being discussed in the USA. The most current one is Captive Tigers in the USA are contributing to the Black Market of Tigers. This can be further from the truth, if you talk to Homeland Security or Border Patrols they all will tell you there is no black market of Tiger parts in the USA, Now other Countries this is a real issues.

Due to corruption within governments in other countries the Wildlife trade is a profitable business. Without the assistance of the governments to implement serious consequences for the killing of protected wildlife this is an impossible task.

Some of the International Conservation Issues are:

  • Poaching

  • Retribution Killing

  • Human – Animal Conflicts

  • Illegal Logging & Commercial Plantations

  • Habitat Loss & Fragmentation

  • Tiger Parts for Medicine

  • Road Networks

  • Closing Corridors

  • Inbreeding & Diseases

  • Ivory Trade

Where is the Up-ROAR for these real issues in the USA?  Even though they are not issues in the USA they should be our concern and focus.  But allot of Animal Rights Groups focus is on captive born animals instead of the real issues the WILD.  By banning USA tigers this will have only one real effect on the WILD species and that it will promote total extinction.  If we loose the capacity for quality genetics in the USA we will have no hope to support the genetics in the wild as they are growing less in numbers the in-breeding will continue at an alarming rate and doom the species.  The end will come quickly.

I call them out and ask what are they doing for the WILD. . all talk and no action?  Extinction is Forever and we have no time to waste.

What really needs to be done to stop Wild populations from becoming extinct?

  • Education

  • Pressure on Corrupt Governments

  • Stop Illegal Trade Markets

  • Serious Consequences to Illegal Commercial Uses

  • Open Tourism and Off Set Personal Losses

  • Provide More Protected Habitat’s in Sensitive Areas

  • Stop Palm Oil Use

  • Open up Corridors

  • Research Genetic Diversity Ideas

  • Continue to Keep Quality Genetic Diversity in Captivity

  • Tourism

 

Wildlife tourism can provide a strong economic incentive for wildlife conservation by being a major long-term source of jobs and income for local people. In developing countries, such as those in East and Southern Africa, wildlife tourism is the primary reason that significant wildlife populations still exist. People who travel to these countries inject needed foreign currency into their economies, create jobs, and buy local arts and crafts and other products that contribute to human well-being and cultural survival (Hawkins, D.E. and Kahn, M.M. 1998. Ecotourism opportunities for developing countries. Pp. 191-204 in Theobald, W.F. (ed.) Global Tourism. Second Edition. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann).

In fact, nature tourism is now being seen as a major contributor to poverty reduction. Furthermore, when local people realize the economic benefits that wildlife and nature tourism bring, they will fight for conservation, even in the face of corruption and wildlife crime. An excellent example is the recent response of African governments and people to the elephant and rhino poaching crises that have been sweeping across the region. African governments have been stepping up their anti-poaching efforts (e.g., Kenya) and even firing corrupt officials who have been involved in the illegal wildlife trade (e.g., Tanzania).

Consider also the opposition that has been building against the development of a road that would bisect Serengeti National Park and threaten the one of the world’s last great migrations of vast herds of wildebeest and zebra. Much of this opposition has come from wildlife tour operators, conservationists and people who have traveled there. With growing human populations, the pressure for continued development is unlikely to abate and is only going to get worse. For example, the Tanzanian government’s recent unfortunate decision to mine portions of Lake Natron, the site of the world’s largest concentration of flamingos. Similarly, serious consideration was being given by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to open up Virunga National Park—home to endangered mountain gorillas– to oil exploration and drilling. Fortunately, that has not happened due to the actions of concerned individuals and organizations.

The promise of long-term revenue from responsible wildlife tourism often appears to be the only thing standing in the way. In developing countries, challenged by poverty and unemployment, the reality is that wildlife is going to have to pay for itself and wildlife tourism is one of the most benign ways in which this can be accomplished.

Although not completely harmless, when done properly, tourism can provide a relatively benign economic incentive for wildlife conservation that is far more preferable to other forms of development, including mining, oil and gas exploration, agriculture, and so forth. This may be the best we can hope for in a world increasingly dominated by humans and their domestic animals.

One role that captive wildlife attractions seem to serve is one of education. But opponents of zoos and aquariums often contend that wildlife belongs in the wild and that it is more educational for people to observe animals in a natural setting. But is really feasible for everyone to be offered such opportunities at an affordable cost?  Wildlife tourism is an incredible way to experience nature and to contribute to wildlife conservation and human welfare worldwide, especially in developing countries. Furthermore, it offers real, not virtual life experiences. However, it can be expensive and a majority of people—even in the richest of countries—cannot afford to travel to exotic locations, or may do so only once or twice in their lifetimes. Customized trips to East Africa, for example, can cost several thousand dollars—not something that is feasible for those struggling to make ends meet, or who are completing their education, buying a house, starting a family or forging a new career.

So what are the alternatives? One can certainly watch National Geographic or other wildlife programming on TV, but this is simply not the same as seeing the real thing. Or, you can go to a professionally-managed zoo or aquarium. If you are near a good one—one that maintains high levels of professional animal care—you can observe and learn about live animals from around the world. This is one of the strongest and most cogent arguments for professionally-managed zoos and aquariums. Zoos and aquariums do provide a location where urban dwellers—perhaps those most divorced from nature—can view wild animals in naturalistic habitats and experience some semblance of reality in a safe and educational environment (Hutchins, M.  2003. Zoos connect us to the natural world. Boston Globe, 2 November). Extreme animal rights activists who want to close zoos—even the best institutions—would deprive tens of millions of people of that experience. In fact, more people visit Zoos and aquariums in the United States than all professional sporting events combined. Furthermore, those institutions offer structured educational experiences to millions of children conduct valuable research and contribute more than $130 million to in situ conservation annually.  Would wildlife and people be better off if all quality zoos and aquariums were closed tomorrow?  I seriously doubt it.

Diverse gene pool is critical for tigers’ survival, say Stanford scholars.  Increasing tigers’ genetic diversity – via interbreeding and other methods – and not just their population numbers may be the best solution to saving this endangered species, according to Stanford research.  That research shows that the more gene flow there is among tiger populations, the more genetic diversity is maintained and the higher the chances of species survival become.  In fact, it might be possible to maintain tiger populations that preserve about 90 percent of genetic diversity.

Limited habitat:  “Since genetic variability is the raw material for future evolution, our results suggest that without interbreeding sub-populations of tigers, the genetic future for tigers is not viable.

“In this case, survival of the species matters more than does survival of the exclusive traits of individual populations.”  Understanding these factors can help decision-makers better address how development affects populations of tigers and other animals.  Conservation efforts for other top predators have shown the importance of considering genetic diversity and connectivity among populations, according to the report.  One example is Florida panthers: since individuals from a closely related panther subspecies were introduced to the population, Florida panthers have seen a modest rise in numbers and fewer cases of genetic disorders and poor fitness.

The plight of these animals depends on Community outreach to help the public understand the importance of the species in their regions and their role in the whole ecosystem.  Biologist have documented that removal of top predators from the wild settings almost inevitably leads prey numbers to explode.  Without top predators, booming prey populations soon strip vegetation and later collapse from illness and starvation.  Even here in the US we have seen examples of this:  At Yellowstone National Park, elk devoured stream-protecting cottonwoods without wolves.  Dolphins and sea cows wiped out sea grasses in Australia’s Shark Bay without the tiger sharks to chase them into deeper waters.  Sea urchins ate kelp forests off Alaska’s coast after sea otters numbers dropped in the late 90’s.  In the Ocala National Forest we are seeing a decline in the long needle pines after overpopulation of deer & hogs continue to uproot the forest due to the Florida Panthers no longer resides in the forest.  We lost an entire ecosystem in Africa when the elephants were eliminated all the animals left or were destroyed.  The habitat doesn’t recover!

Statistics:

Lions are down to perhaps 25,000 were formerly roamed 450,000

Leopards are down to 50,000 from 750,000

Cheetah’s numbers are about 12,000 from 45,000

Tigers numbers are about 2,200 in the wild, down from 150,000 with only perhaps 1,000 breeding tigers.

Do we want to live in a world without Big Cats and collapsed ecosystems?  We must preserve the Big Cats NOW. . and fix the inbreeding in the wild with the introduction of captive bloodline genetics.  We must test current captive genetics within all captivity and preserve those bloodlines.  We must start working to infuse these quality bloodlines in those wild tigers before we loose all the cubs to inbreeding.

We must save the current populations of wildlife but we MUST also protect the future populations.