Killing Butterflies

Mark Walker MWalker at
Wed Sep 23 01:23:43 EDT 1998

Alex Netherton wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Alex [SMTP:danetherton at]
> Sent:	Monday, September 21, 1998 9:46 AM
> To:	Leps-L
> Subject:	Killing Butterflies
> Dear friends;
> I couldn't let this thread go by without saying something. I have taught
> Environmental Education for 7 years and always taught my students that
> there was little reason for killing anything except for serious scientific
> enquiry or to eat it. If you check Pyle (Audubon's Guide) he strongly
> discourages killing butterflies, but encourages photography. With photos,
> there is little upkeep, little storage problem, and no beetles. I feel
> that as stewards (I think the wrong word was used in KJ's translation) we
> have to train our students in respect, not in exploitation. With the
> quantity of roadkill, there is ample opportunity for collection without
> putting pressure on the survivors.
	While I can appreciate this response, I have to argue with Alex that
the correct response to the roadkill problem is not to ask the relatively
few people who are collecting to put their nets down, but rather attempt to
limit the greater destruction.  If even a fraction of the butterflies being
destroyed by habitat destruction were preserved, we would not tend to be so
concerned about the ridiculously small number that are collected each year.
Game hunters have been using this argument for years, and who can argue if
in fact the game populations are in fact stabilized.  Wildlife and habitat
management is the key - we shouldn't have to resort to a moratorium on
collecting until the situation becomes irreparable.  Please encourage a
solution to the greater problem before you ask us bug wierdos to quit our

	I see the situation something like this:  Once there was this big
forest, which supported a great diversity of insects and a few insect
collectors, all living happily together, when to the astonishment of all,
the forest begins to be torn down.  Little by little, most of the forest is
cleared away until all that is left to be seen are these few pathetic insect
collectors frantically searching about for the insects they love so much.
When the rest of the world sees that there are no more bugs, these insect
collectors look like children with their hands in the cookie jar.  It just
ain't right.

	Mark Walker.

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