All these "sales" lately / Personal feelings

Pierre le Roux arbor at
Thu May 7 14:35:24 EDT 1998

Sorry, I seem to have helped this vein digress from the original 
intent as well:

To put matter straight: I (personally) believe, that all insects for 
sale should be legally obtained - preferably bred. 

Secondly, I don't think I've made myself guilty of offering material 
through this newsgroup at all: There is a separate newsgroup, Leps 
Livestock List, available for just that.

What I do feel is that Ernst (sorry, you asked for it), should not 
make his own set of rules applicable on the rest of the world:
When I asked for comment on how to go about preserving a habitat 
under threat, last year, I got a lot of lame excuses for not getting 
involved: Only one person was brave enough to put forward some useful 
suggestions: That was at the same time as people were lamenting on 
this newsgroup about "unfair" systems implemented whilst no-one was 
looking in the U.S.A - I hope the same does not happen here.

But on the other hand - if the Western World - that likes telling Africa 
how to handle its affairs- can promise us enough aid/"compensation", 
after "exploiting" the continent for so long, we promise not to do 
the same to our own natural resources (or what's left after the 
empires had taken there dues), as Europe & North America :-)
Ernst said:
> > The only legitimate trade in insects I can think off is in hiring out/ 
> > selling colonies of (bumble)bees and the like for pollinating crops and the 
> > multitude of insects, especially parasitoids and predators (and other 
> > organisms such as nematodes, etc.) for biological control. 
Pierre said:
> Here in Africa, apart from safari's in gameparks, people pay to come 
> hunting game on farms set aside for just that. I, for one, cant see 
> why people that want to hunt insects should not be allowed to pay for 
> the pleasure on the same basis ;-)
Let me clarify this further: I have about 70 hectares (154 acres) 
taken over by alien vegetation, introduced by well-meaning settlers - 
I suppose my grandparents who bought the farm back in the '40 did 
their bit. This I intend recovering for natural plants, in order to 
assist local butterflies that are (by no means) not under threat, to 
establish in greater numbers. I feel it is only fair to defray the 
cost of such a venture, by renting out rooms to lepidopterists, 
cooped up in cities, at prices not more expensive than your local 
guest houses, in order for them to catch, legally and with permision, 
butterflies - ranched but not farmed. I fail to see the end of the 
analogy: If I take trouble to assist or breed something, over and 
above the numbers nature will supply, why should I not sell it?

Due to this line of thinking, I have been able to employ a black guy, 
who had a matric (12th grade) certificate, who was unable to find 
other work: He has done some remarkable things with the little 
training - on the job, mostly, - he received from me, and is earning 
a salary, three times his original by now: He has learnt that larvae 
pupate - and interesting fact is that neither of the local black 
native populations had any word in their vocabulary for pupae, and it 
took some convincing that in fact, butterflies or moths come from 
larvae. The Venda name for butterfly is "chi-Susu", the larvae 
"chi-Vungu", and the Shangaans call Lepidoptera in general 
"Papa-taan" - All more ore less phonetically.

What makes it  even stranger, taken that they delight in consuming 
the larvae of the larger Saturnidae - a point brought home when a 
friend's larvae of Bunaea alcinoë, that I tried to raise for him 
whilst only chasing Papllionidae myself, were removed from sleeves, and 
eaten as a Sunday lunch ( Remember that, Chris?)

Then -we do have threats, particularly to the Imbrasia belina, who 
account for an industry worth around R2 billion (or U.S$ 400 million, 
and dropping fast - so one of these days all you Americans who are 
outlawed from collecting and are taking the moral highground  about 
paying for specimens can come here and collect to your hearts content 
along the freeways, for a song ;-). It is urgently required to do the 
resea\rch to enable the stock to survive through the next century, 
and we are not sure that Government is going to see it this way: 
Lobby groups and the like is a new concept for us conservation minded 
lepidopterists - by the way, here you cannot afford to swerve to 
avoid a butterfly: You'll probably hit a pedestrian instead, as they 
insist on using the road as most other vehicles would rather than 
walk along the side :-) 

Apart from Imbrasia  belina, less than a handfull of leps are under 
serious threat: A Lepidochrysops niobe (I've never gotten the names 
under the belt - I got too old before I started, and Ericsoniae 
acraeinae, seems to be the worst off, but then the local Lepsoc is 
keeping everyone on their toes. It's just that nobody really worries 
about the moth?

Again, sorry if I trod on some tender toes, but then I'm a farmer who 
lacks the finesse that comes from bein raised in the confines of 
European main-stream capitalist society. 
Pierre le Roux Tel&Fax:+(27)-15-583-0084
P.O. Box 8     ( Cellphone+27-82-9234-975)
0929 Levubu
South Africa
23°05'S 30°15'E, 680m above mean sealevel.

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