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Author Topic: Cllimate change, should we preserve species?  (Read 7369 times)

Offline EatsRainbows

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« on: 14/09/2010 12:24:31 »
Hello everyone, I havn't been on here for a while but have a question I've been pondering and wonder what everyone thinks?

With climate change a lot of species will in all liklihood become extinct, one of which is the polar bear. Should we keep some in captivity to try to maintain the species so that they do not become extinct?

The position I've held is, to whos advantage would such an action be, theirs or ours?

If we succeeded in keeping them but they can never be released into the wild due to no longer having a home and perhaps other reasons what would the point be other than us having a pretty animal to observe?

I'm not sure that they would appreciate spending generation after generation in captivity. This is unless we perhaps domesticated them?

I'm aware that maintaining biodiversity is important, however if they can never be released into the wild and if they had no home I don't see how they could be and natural selection is not working upon them to adapt, which I think it would not be in captivity? Then what is the point?

Anyone have anything of an opinion or additional comments?
« Last Edit: 15/09/2010 01:45:44 by EatsRainbows »


 

Offline LeeE

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Re: Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #1 on: 14/09/2010 18:53:22 »
That's a good question.

I would say that such threatened species should be kept, for future generations, because they are a part of our world's history.
 

Offline imatfaal

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #2 on: 15/09/2010 09:30:18 »
perhaps as a reminder for those future generations of the damage we have wrought and humanity's potential for destruction.  should we keep such a noble animal in captivity for our own selfish reasons? - probably not, but it hasn't stopped us so far.
 

Offline EatsRainbows

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #3 on: 15/09/2010 11:04:35 »
Yeah I'm kinda anti on that position.

LeeE keeping them for future generations rather falls into my "so that we can have a pretty animal to observe" basket. Because it is assuming that either animals don't suffer and do not mind being in captivity, or alternatively that perhaps they do but our rights are more important than theirs. I don't agree with that morally myself.

I disect small animals in the lab at Uni sometimes and I'm all for it for many reasons, one is because it has a huge advantage and in the end the more I study animals the more I can give to them in my future job so theres reasonable justification there. Also what we use are pests and they die humanely.

This is different and I was wondering simply if there is any good scientific reason for preserving them? Keeping endangered species in captivity so that their offspring can be released into the wild for example, I agree with that.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #4 on: 15/09/2010 12:51:20 »
I reckon at least their DNA should be preserved, many samples from many specimens. That way in the future, should we ever fix our planet/colonize another and miss the little critters, we can bring them back Jurassic Park style.
 

Offline Don_1

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #5 on: 15/09/2010 17:14:21 »
I wonder if any such preservation would be such a good idea. I certainly think it would be more for the gratification of Man than out of any sense of guilt.

Would any plans to embark on such a course make us the less concerned for the 'now' because have 'insured' the future?

Taking the Polar Bear as an example, we would need to keep a high number of individuals in captivity to ensure a wide enough gene pool to keep the species viable, otherwise close family ties could lead to genetic deformity.

There would also be the question of whether it would be possible to return animals to the wild at some distant future date. A Polar Bear cub learns how to find food from its mother. If they have been bred in captivity for a number of generations, it is unlikely that these hunting skills will prevale.

There is also the matter of pathogens. In the wild, many animals play host to a variety of pathogens, and parasites. The gut of most animals will contain an assortment of lodgers both good and bad. For the most part, the animal can usually play host to them without too much trouble. Kept in captivity, the chances are that the animals will be protected from such invasion. But upon release into the wild after a number of generations in an artificially 'clean' environment, the animals body may no longer be able to deal with any invasion.

It would also be possible that the opposite might be the case. This has been observed with the release of captive bred Gopher Tortoises into the Mojave desert, where the released animals cause problems in the upper respiratory tract of the wild animals. Though there have been successful instances of restocking wild populations, as in the case of the Ploughshare tortoise and the Egyptian tortoise (one of the most threatened species) and the Indian Star Tortoise, these have been largely with animals previously poached for the pet trade.

Last year, Perth Zoo released 30 captive bred Western Swamp Tortoises into the wild to prop up the wild population estimated at just 50 adults. These are still being monitored.

Considering the risk of failure, and the high cost of any such programme, I don't think it would be viable for the Polar Bear or any other animal which relies on nurture to teach it how to survive, to be preserved by means of captivity.

Besides, I've got a better idea, lets preserve their natural habitat now, and we won't have to worry about preserving the species. Nature will do it for herself.
 

Offline LeeE

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #6 on: 17/09/2010 01:14:24 »
Hmm... I don't consider preserving a bit of the Earth's biological history as falling into the "pretty animals" category.  In any case, many threatened species are not 'pretty'.

It's interesting to note that many of the opinions so far expressed just seem to regard the issue from a utilitarian point of view i.e. if these threatened animals are of no practical use to us then we should let them die out.
 

Offline Evie

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #7 on: 17/09/2010 23:03:36 »
This is a problem I ponder regularly, as well.

I work with an endangered species of fish and I sometimes think that we are fighting a losing battle and I'm not even sure sometimes why we are fighting it.

Humans are in a unique position, having contributed to the destruction of animals, habitats, etc., but having the means to try and protect them as well.

The problem is, where do you draw the line? Do we give up on all endangered species and just hope that the earth can equilibrate itself?

And perhaps the study of such an animal as in your example, the polar bear, would help us with other species, even if they have no hope of making it back into the wild.
 

Offline EatsRainbows

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #8 on: 18/09/2010 07:39:03 »
In any case, many threatened species are not 'pretty'.

It depends how you define 'pretty'. In this case pretty for me is... I suppose I could define it as miraculous, profound and nice to observe for that reason. Maybe I'm stretching it a bit here :p lol

I said that because the way i saw it is preserving them for future generations of HUMANS seems to be a purely selfish reason. This is because, again, is there any advantage to the planet to the species if they must be kept in captivity? I don't see that there is. My 'pretty animal basket' is defined by this.

Evie I see your point. Though it may be a little a broad to refer to 'endangered species' as a whole? Surely it would depend upon the finer details of reason they are endangered? Eg, consider the Panda bear, we can grow more bamboo and stop destroying their habbitat at any time. That is, they can be reintroduced to the wild.

I suppose the key part of my thoughts on this really stresses the factor of NEVER being able to live in the wild again. The ice isn't going to come back and the polar bear isn't going to adapt to this in captivity.

As for your last comment, good point. I wonder though if we can really learn all the much from observing them in captivity? What do you think we could learn from them? As Don_1 put forward they would lose their natural behaviours and I suppose that after many generations which ultimately would become rather inbred they would in essence become demesticated?
« Last Edit: 18/09/2010 07:44:08 by EatsRainbows »
 

Offline echochartruse

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #9 on: 22/09/2010 05:10:04 »
If we don't try preserving species, then what? After all we are a species dependant on other species who depend on others.

Locking animals out of their environment and into cages isn't preserving them it's containing/controlling them.

The Tassie Devils are very inbred but still the will to survive is forcing them to adapt. If a catastrophy happened on earth killing every human bar two of each sex would we worry about inbreeding?, much.

 

Offline echochartruse

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #10 on: 22/09/2010 05:11:46 »
Besides, I've got a better idea, lets preserve their natural habitat now, and we won't have to worry about preserving the species. Nature will do it for herself.

This sounds most feasible.
 

Offline yor_on

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #11 on: 24/09/2010 12:50:24 »
Yea, to raise animals in artificial environments mostly kills them when released. Better to try to stop harming the environment we all live by
 

Offline Mazurka

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #12 on: 29/09/2010 09:59:56 »
I disagree with single species conservation - polar bears, pandas, red squirels etc.  These (often) iconic species are important in themsleves, but often divert limited resources away from the bigger picture.

The bigger picture in this case is habitat loss and fragmentation. 

Whether habitat is lost due to landuse change (human development) or climate change which may (or may not) be driven to a greater extent by human activity is irrelevant.

The danger is that the "ecosystem services" that the natural environment provides will be lost.  These services include a wide range of issues including flood defence, land stabillity, cleaning water regualting the climate  and the pollination of food crops.   
 

Offline echochartruse

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #13 on: 30/09/2010 23:41:46 »
I agree everything depends on everything else to survive.

The human population has to rethink and get it together before it is too late - or is it already?
 

Offline szymon

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #14 on: 31/10/2010 19:21:37 »
To get more knowledge of weather a species in natural conditions will catch up the ongoing climate change with its evolutionary rate we have to focus on studies of four basic evolutionary factors: selection, mutation, migration, and random drift and beyond... Now there are at least three other extremely important factors that must be considered. These are a phenotypic plasticity, epigenetic inheritance, and behavioural inheritance (as mentioned before by Don_1). To my knowledge, there is not even a single organism (endangered one due to a climate change or any other not endangered model organism) on earth that has been studied for all mentioned evolutionary factors. Hence, more studies is needed       
 

Offline JnA

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #15 on: 02/11/2010 05:20:39 »
It's very expensive to keep a polar bear, let alone two.. or enough to sustain a species. Even more so if you are going to look after it where the temp is not right.
Problems as mentioned with skill learning can be overcome, and breeding for re-release is an option.. but only if the environment is there for them to go back to.

The success of releasing orang utans into the Borneo jungle is on it's way. But the process is slow and the tracking expensive..


 

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Cllimate change, should we preserve species?
« Reply #15 on: 02/11/2010 05:20:39 »

 

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