Extinction vs accuracy

Kondla, Norbert FOR:EX Norbert.Kondla at gems3.gov.bc.ca
Mon Jan 15 11:13:48 EST 2001

People working in the resource managment field will recognize that status
ranking schemes make a logical and useful distinction between 'extinct' and
'extirpated'. Using the word extinct in the very broad sense that some use
it is not very scientific and not very useful for communication purposes;
except for those who deliberately want to cry wolf every time a population
disappears through natural or unnatural causes.  I have not encountered the
"wise use" movement in my part of the world so not sure what that is but I
hope nobody is suggesting that "unwise use" is preferred over wise use :-)
-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Foley [mailto:patfoley at csus.edu]
Sent: Monday, January 15, 2001 8:02 AM
To: Ron Gatrelle
Cc: Leps-l
Subject: Re: Extinction vs accuracy
Ron and others,
Let me reiterate that the term "extinct" is used by scientists studying
extinction for both local extinction and global extinction of a species. I
didn't decide this. Environmental activists didn't decide this. It was
by a consensus of the scientific community. It was not a perfect choice, but
will not change because it annoys the wise use movement.
Patrick Foley
patfoley at csus.edu
Ron Gatrelle wrote:
> Someone (I have already deleted the massage) used the word _weight_ in
> conjunction with what term is best for locally missing taxa.  The truth is
> that activists (on any front) are very adept at yelling fire in the
> theater. Activists are looking for action. Thus, they choose words with
> proper weight to stir sentiment and motivate events in their direction.
> Any way one cuts it, extinct means gone to never return again. Atala was
> never extinct in Florida. Celastrina ebenina was a seldom seen form until
> it was realized that it was a species and what its habitat is. Now it's
> known as a somewhat widespread species. N. mitchellii pops are now known
> occur in Mississippi and Alabama and will quite possibly turn out to have
> numerous colonies is the seldom visited, snake infested, southern swamps.
> Accuracy is what needs to be communicated. If something is extinct then
> that term. If locally absent then just say that. If a status is unknown
> probably whatever then say that. It is fine to warn of fire in the theater
> if there is one. But if not, when there really is one nobody will pay much
> heed. We who are on the side of the environment have used words like
> extinct, crisis, immanent, so often that Joe Public (whose support we must
> have) is beginning to just see us as using chronic over, or mis,
> If actives what to continue to use terms with  more _weight_ then be
> advised that is no where to go in ones terminology but down. Or, will we
> become like the magician of Princess Bride and say, well, they were only
> mostly dead, now they are fully dead - extinct. They were only mostly on
> the verge now they are really or fully or completely on the verge.
> The Red Wolf was once extirpated from South Carolina. Now it has been
> reintroduced -  because that taxon has never been extinct.
> Ron
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