more on populations and regulations

Edward J. Stanton ejstanto at
Fri Dec 17 18:07:12 EST 1999

Collecting insects or other invertebrates in most cases is
probably not an issue to be concerned with from a population biology
standpoint (ethics is another story), but we are not wise enough a species
to decide when and where such collecting pressure should be thwarted.  We 
are having enough difficulty convincing our
societies to protect large animals such as gorillas and bears and whales
so we should not be surprised when people cringe at the suggestion that we
should regulate the protection of invertebrates.  Besides, regulating the
taking of insects in general opposes our greater desire to understand
biodiversity because we need specimens to develop our library of names.
And blanket regulation would be the only way we could afford to enforce
the taking of invertebrates because of the sheer volume of knowledge the
enforcing officers would require to identify individually regulated
species.  Can we really afford to keep an insect taxonomist at every port
of entry to key each specimen to determine its legal status?  I for one am
satisfied with the slow progress of regulatory protection of
invertebrates, but I do desire more interest in the study of the potential
causes of population decline.  One insect I have been studying has
recently been listed as endangered by the state in which it is found and
now my research is threatened by such regulation.  Does that regulation
protect that species now that I have to ask politicos for permission to
collect specimens?  I argue that it has harmed the species because I have
decided that the extra work made the project unaffordable (due to the lack
of funding interests in studying insect conservation).

Edward J. Stanton

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