Saving a population

Mark Walker MWalker at
Tue Sep 4 17:20:05 EDT 2001

Clay Taylor wrote:

> Mark -
>     Instead of wishing you had pinned all of a population that was
> eventually doomed (I agree, dead is dead, and it doesn't 
> matter why), why
> didn't you do something to protect / relocate the local 
> population?   It's
> not like the developers snuck in under cover of darkness and 
> bulldozed the
> area overnight.  Your "silent monitoring" was more like 
> silent murdering.
> You are right, you should be pissed - but at yourself, not the site
> developers or failures in the process of listing and 
> protecting threatened
> organisms.
>     I will apologize in advance if you and others made 
> serious efforts that
> failed to save that population, but from your letter, it sure 
> doesn't sound
> like it.  If there is ANY threatened organism in our backyard that the
> public will rally around, it's a butterfly - look at all the 
> posts recently
> describing how the general public flocks to butterfly houses in zoos,
> museums, etc., and virtually ignores other exhibits of equal 
> or greater
> natural history value.
>     I, for one, would have been pissed long before the 
> habitat was gone.

Perhaps surprisingly, I'll give Clay a concurring nod for much of what he is
getting at.  On the other hand, I was duped by the existing "butterfly
conservation" entities that already exist out here.  My "silent monitoring"
was simply an occasional and opportunistic drive-by check of the habitat
that was supposedly already being monitored and (at least I believed)
protected.  The bottom line here is not that I didn't do more to save it -
but that there was apparently nothing that the existing laws could provide
to ensure that money and financial interest wouldn't prevail.  

So, while I as an individual can always do more, I shoulder no guilt over my
actions or lack thereof in this case.

As for population/habitat relocation, well now there's a concept.  I can
just imagine what response I would have solicited had I been caught on the
site with a shovel.

Hopefully, Clay WAS already pissed about this Checkerspot, as it's existence
on the Endangered List is well known and the bug has _enjoyed_ significant
press over recent years.  I hope he's not suggesting that "collectors
secrets" are one of the contributors to species demise.  If not for the data
from field entomologists (including collectors), we wouldn't likely have
known that these endangered populations even existed.

Mark Walker


   For subscription and related information about LEPS-L visit: 

More information about the Leps-l mailing list