Thursday, January 25, 2007

Do We Or Don't We?

Carl Zimmer brings up a very important point that conservation biologists (and all the rest of us who care about this Earth) are facing right now. As climate changes occurs, species move away in search of their natural habitats (as previous records show). However, we now know there are several species that might die if we don't find them a habitat.
The pros for human assisted moves are obvious - we save a threatened species. The cons are numerous - such moves in the past have rarely succeeded, when they did it resulted in threatening the natural habitat where the species was moved or it end up producing "hybrid zones" to name just a few.
As Zimmer puts it, "Which is worse: the risk of creating a new invasive species through assisted migration, or just watching a species become extinct? "
We have a moral dilemma in front of us - I wonder what step to take?


sameera said...

good Q Sakshi. I saw a program on history channel yesterday titled "end of the days". The program was talking about global warming and effect of life. Either step will be lead to a Q whether this is right. But we can't sit back and do nothing. We have to take some steps to save these animals.

Sakshi said...

I know, Sameera. I am fascinated by "grey" zone issues.
If I move species X to save it in turn destroy species Y, am I helping?
To me as a conservationist, either scenario is loathful but we are going to be faced with dilemmas like these more often now.

Revealed said...

Survival of the fittest? Let nature take its course?

Sakshi said...

@Revealed - To me that is the easiest response, I hope that biologist we can give better solutions and as human beings we can strive for much better things.
I know we can not help all the species on earth but I need to atleast attempt to save them.
For a large part they are dying becuase of my (my as in the collective human) actions.

Revealed said...

Sometimes meddling with something we don't fully understand is not the best option, yknow. In fact I think this is the hardest option , not the easiest. The easiest option is to go ahead and do something ill-considered fired on by the zealous belief that we're saving the world.

Sakshi said...

@ Revelaed - Agreed. But to sit back and watch species after species becoming extinct is hard. And it does not always have to entail failure - I am sure if we put our heads to it, we wil find a way.
In some cases, I know I am a die-hard optimist.

Anonymous said...

Survival of the fittest is an easy recourse. But in some sense a fairly dangerous proposition for the human race itself. Consider this:

Humans presence on this planet has accelerated global warming, has resulted in enhanced displacement of resources, greater redistribution and in some cases much higher concentration of pollutants in specific zones and so on. Would you look at it as a "natural" process and wait for the fittest to emerge and integrate into this mess or would you try to stop this (as environmentalists do)? Anyways, ths point I am trying to make is this: if we completely believe in the "survival of the fittest" concept, we might not survive after a while since we are not the fittest to start with.

I know that it sounds fairly vague, but someone does figure out what I am trying to say, I would be happy to hear their response. Thank you.

CBonline said...

Conservation is clearly a good idea, but changes aren't inherently bad; there might be a positive change, though of course that's not a good situation to be in.