The Endangered Species Act problem

Marita is on the case.

ESA now covers hundreds of species.

An ESA compliance problem can often be a major impediment to use of property.

I know for a fact that many species have been named that are not endangered except in some part of their range.

2 responses to “The Endangered Species Act problem

  1. Not too long ago (around 1942) the standard definition of species was changed from the objective “a group of animals that CAN produce viable offspring” to the more subjective “a group of animals that DO produce viable offspring naturally AND are isolated from other populations”. That subtle difference means any animal that is geographically isolated can be considered a distinct species. Automatically any animal that lives on an island is its own species with a limited range and niche ecosystem.

    Evolutionary biologists are generally quick to point out that the concept of species is antiquated and subject to much debate. ESA activists use the mercurial nature of the word species to their advantage. Any difference between two subgroups, whether genetic, dietary, or behavioral can be used to declare a new species or subspecies. For various political and academic reasons the taxonomical community favors discovering “new” species. With enough subdividing, anything can become rare enough to be endangered.

    The real crazy starts when activists become so narrowly focused on saving a rare subspecies they actively destroy more competitive species. Biodiversity is valued over fitness. Some conservationists have seriously considered slaughtering barred owls to protect spotted owls. The biggest wrinkle is that the two “species” are so similar they can produce viable hybrid offspring colloquially known as “sparred owls”. By the old definition this would be objective proof that the two birds are the same species.

    From the NatGeo article below: Although hybridization is a natural evolutionary process, “problems arise when it’s human-caused,” said Nina Fascione, vice president of species conservation for the Defenders of Wildlife.
    Exactly what problems are arising is unclear.

    Interesting note, another endangered species, the red wolf, is thought to have arisen from a hybridization of grey wolves and coyotes. The activists make it clear that the only thing that bothers them is the implication that humans may have been involved. Their misanthropy runs so deep it almost appears as though they are desperately trying to erase all evidence of our existence from the planet.

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