risk of release

anne kilmer viceroy at anu.ie
Fri Jun 16 10:29:52 EDT 2000

Set a thief to catch a thief. Or, "Nobody gets to hit my brother but
When you check the records, you will be amazed at how many of those same
pest plants were released (or recommended) by the USDA in the first
place. Kudzu. And so forth. David Fairchild's "The World was my Garden"
is an eye-opener. 
But my friends in the USDA assure me that it's all different now. They
research the exotic organisms which they release lavishly into the
environment, and they're practically sure that they won't do any harm.
To cultivated plants ... 
Wayne tells me that taxonomists usually have no trouble getting the
permits they need, and that states also regulate releases of this and
And, let me point out, he asked us for guidance, and  I don't see much
fo that happening. 
Maybe our better thinkers have gone off-list to chat with him. I hope

I think we recaptured all our boa constrictors and pythons, but there
were several gopher tortoises that strolled off when our backs were
They just went back home; no problem. And this was long before you were
supposed to get permits and such, let me hasten to add. 
As Michael says, they escape, and the only way to avoid it is not to
have them in the first place. 
And, of course, there's always the idiot who thinks Central Park would
be improved with all of Shakespear's birds. The nightingales and larks
didn't do too well, but the sparrows and starlings flourished. 
I like biodiversity, and Gresham's law applies here, as in every other
form of economy. 
Anne Kilmer

Michael Gochfeld wrote:
> Bruce mentions that individuals have a vested interest in not letting
> creatures escape, particularly if they've paid good money for them. And
> I agree.  But virtually every kind of animal that I have kept has at one
> time or another escaped, including a bird that I carefully guarded for
> 11 years (a longevity record), but which found a way outside.
> Parrots (valued in excess of $1000) escape with too much regularity, and
> such forlorn individuals are often seen even in northern climes where
> their survival is doubtful.
>   We often misjudge (and underestimate) the houdini-esque capabilities
> of organisms.  I would be very surprised to learn that there are people
> who regularly raise leps who have never had a caterpillar disappear.
> In any case, for creatures that truly are pests (and Norbert has pointed
> out that real pests and pests-by-law are not the same), I wouldn't rely
> on amateur containment, no matter how highly motivated.
> Mike Gochfeld

More information about the Leps-l mailing list