Saturday, May 3, 2008

the Endangered Species Act and bird conservation

Despite what some people apparently think about my post the other day day regarding the Endangered Species Act and the whooping cranes, my intent was to remind people that the cranes are protected by that federal law - a law that has proven very useful for conservation of endangered and threatened species. I am surprised by the fact that I have had to spend so much time this past week defending the law, to birders no less. I am chagrined to learn that many people think their "right" to see a bird trumps the protection afforded that bird species by the federal law.

Although some folks think it is unnecessary that whoopers get extra protection, I don't agree that whoopers are more likely to "accept" or tolerate near human presence, either now or in the future. Imagine if you will, the many years of research done on this species in Canada, Texas, at ICF, at Patuxent in Maryland and by the many people who have devoted their entire careers and professional lives in the service of conservation of the species and its place in North America. The species and its behavior are extremely well-known. The recommendations are based on all of those many thousands of hours of work. Disturbance in species in this situation is well-known for the impact it creates - not a good impact, but an extremely negative one. After literally millions of dollars, years of effort, incredible expertise and scientific work, I contend we should follow the guidelines, stay well away from the birds, and give the process a chance to work. Then, maybe someday, there will be wild whoopers ranging throughout Wisconsin's wetlands. It's a worthwhile goal and one that deserves a chance to work

If you've wondered or maybe have forgotten what the law has accomplished, perhaps the information at these links can refresh your memory:

1 comment:

R. Squier said...

Bill, thank you for your reminder! it would truly be a shame if, after all the hard work by ICF and Patuxent, that the birds success was harmed because of zealous birders.
R. Squier