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View Diary: Free The Tigers! Spare The Tigers! (37 comments)

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  •  That seems to be placing a value on them as (3+ / 0-)

    dead things.

    Do they have to be hunted and killed to be important?

    Do they have to be slaughtered to provide parts to be important?

    What about protecting their habitat and letting people photograph them on safari?

    •  Rember I've spent quite a bit of time in tiger (1+ / 0-)
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      habitat. It's hard to see ten yards, let alone the hundreds of yard that people see in Africa. I hear birders complain all the time, no birds. And I hear comments like forests empty of animals, but when I look at the ground I see recent tracks of tons of every kind of animal you could want.

      Hunting requires live animals, wildlife biologists monitor populations and only allow harvest from teh excess carrying capacity.

      My question still remains, do you like tigers enough to allow them to be hunted? The alternative isn't working out so well.

      Regulated hunting has an almost 100% success rate for preservation of species and habitat.

      "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

      by ban nock on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 02:10:41 PM PST

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      •  For me that's not an answer. (3+ / 0-)

        I pray* regularly that people will refrain from killing and prevent others from killing.  The idea that killing might be a solution to extinction bothers me deeply.  Yes, the present "efforts", whatever they might be are leading to extinction.  But for me the only solution worth having is one that values life and refrains from killing.  Put another way, I need another idea.

        •  What will people pay for (1+ / 0-)
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          ban nock

          I recall spending time with a friend of a friend in Colorado's mountains a few years back, during which we talked in general about the return of the cougar to his region.  My impression was that he thought that was a good thing.  Several days later, a neighbor reported that a cougar was seen crouching in some brush along the back of his yard, eyeing his 2 year old.  Guns were promptly brought out and loaded.  Play activity was also modified, but there was no question about what would happen were that big cat to show itself again in those bushes, let alone by the swing set.  Why would we expect an Indian or Chinese villager to feel any differently?  I suspect that most of the villagers around tiger habitat would be more than happy for the big cats to stop preying on their animals, neighbors, and family.  Right now, no one monitors the cats, there is no attention to its natural food sources so that better alternatives to preying on domestic animals and humans exist.  Governments do not allocate enough resources for that, and there is little reason to believe that they will find those resources in the future.  Non-governmental organizations are famous for raising money on issues like this, and spending virtually none of it on habitat and wildlife management where it would do some good.  However, there is one group that spends a lot of money for animals like tigers - high end trophy hunters.  If resources are needed, that looks like the most likely place to get them.  It means that ownership needs to be established (perhaps by the village collectively, perhaps by a village corporation) and rights need to be able to be conferred (perhaps through an outfitter).  The moral problem with a death of an individual cat seems less important to me than the preservation of the habitat and natural systems to allow tigers to survive as a whole species.  If there are other sources of money to make that happen, good.  If not, what is the alternative?

          •  Forgive me, but I find myself getting offended (0+ / 0-)

            at the "logic" of this.

            If we're trying to do something about preserving the life of tigers, and prolonging the existence of the species, we need to think it through and develop solutions to an obviously serious problem.  I cannot imagine that the best answer to potential extinction is capitalism, i.e. hunting tigers and killing them, especially when the scheme is based on the "ownership" of tigers. People cannot own tigers. They are not ours to dispatch for money.  They are not ours to sell to "high end" killers.  They don't belong to us.

            I'm sorry.  I bridle at the argument that somehow rich hunters possess the answer to species extinction and that answer is ownership.

            What do we do about extinction of the other species that are not hunted that tiger life depends on?  What do we do about frogs, for example, that nobody wants to buy or kill or own that are becoming extinct?

            •  I agree with part of what you are saying (0+ / 0-)

              but part of it doesn't make sense to me.

              The part I agree with is the idea of ownership of wildlife or really any 'natural resource' (for want of a better obvious term).  I think this is an idea that is really crippling our ability to come to grips with environmental problems.  It converts entities from functioning parts of a system that supplies us with things we need to disposable commodities.

              What I don't agree with is this idea that killing things is inherently antithetical to preserving them.  Most animals (exclusive fruit or nectar feeders would be exceptions)exist though the death of other organisms.  Plants are living things just as much as animals.  Even if you don't eat animals, the construction of your home, the conversion of land to grow your food, and so on have resulted in the death of many animals.  This is an inherent part of all ecology, with humans or without - most things end up as someone else's dinner.  Even in an ideal tiger world many cubs are going to die before they reach adulthood.  Most adults are going to die before they get old.  So if humans killing a few can lead to their habitat being preserved and other live - I'm all for that.  I am however somewhat skeptical that such a plan is feasible in this case.

              "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

              by matching mole on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 07:21:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Where have I heard this before? (0+ / 0-)

                We had to destroy the village to save it

                Oh, yes.  Right here in the midst of what was once tiger habitat.

                It's just a false dichotomy to make believe that there are two choices: extinction and hunting.

                The issue deserves more thought.  So do the tigers.

              •  The question is, where are the resources? (0+ / 0-)

                Tigers are killing people and their domestic animals in India.  That's a fact.  Tigers do so because their habitat is being transformed into an environment where they have little choice.  Those Indian villagers are also impoverished in ways we can scarcely imagine.  The loss of a goat can mean the death of a child, or grindingly painful hunger.  Currently, a villager who kills the predator posing that threat to his family also reaps what for him will be a substantial reward (I am assuming that the poachers are overwhelmingly male).  The current and forseeable future level of support by the Indian government is insufficient to manage or change these facts.  In all likelihood, these same circumstances are present throughout the tigers range.  Absent significant change, this state of affairs will produce a world where there are no wild tigers.  I think there is no disagreement about this.

                If that is true, then the question of whether or not individual tigers are going to be killed has no meaning.  We already know what the outcome of current trends will be.  Furthermore, this apex predator is an indicator for a habitat change that will doom other species within its ecosystem to extinction too.  For purposes of this exchange, I think we can all agree that this is a bad thing.  

                What is to be done?  There are many forces at work.  Paternalism, caste, patterns of land ownership, and a host of social factors surely play a role.  My guess is that current beneficiaries are exploiting the tiger's habitat for forest products, and conversion to agriculture, where the benefits flow to remote favored elites.  Economics is driving tigers to extinction, so economics is where there is leverage that could change the outcome for tigers and their habitat.  Arguments about whether or not preservation strategies should be framed to take advantage of capitalism seem pointless to me.  Is there some other economic system that is worthy of discussion as a generator of the resources needed to address widespread habitat destruction and species extinction?  If not, then how is the value of tigers, and management of individuals, the species, and its habitat to be changed?  Observing that the tragedy of the commons applies here too is hardly insightful, but it is true.  What everyone "owns" is treated as valueless.  

                The needed change then, must start with a change in the ownership of the resource - in this case the tiger species and its habitat.  When that has more value to the people in the region as a viable ecosystem, from apex predators on down, than it does as it is handled now, the use of the resource will change.  In a capitalist world, that means ownership - preferably by those local people.  There are a number of ways that ownership can be expressed; my preference would be a village or sub-regional corporation.  Fortunately, this is not virgin territory, there are many successful models from which to choose.  What is surprising to me is that the political will to change ownership, and beneficiaries, is quite common.  Most governments are far more worried about their citizenry than is our own.

                How an entity with ownership would choose to benefit is an open question.  I assume that there would be a wide range of offerings.  Maybe there is an eco-tourist niche that would provide revenues (but someone is going to have to deal with an apex predator that starts killing villagers and their animals - pretending that the outcome for that mountain lion in Colorado was something other than death is naive).  There would certainly be a market among high end trophy hunters, and a careful manager would be likely to focus it to cull older, potential man-eaters for all of the obvious reasons.  It should not be hard to make these markets work together.  Perhaps there are other sources of revenue - patents for new drugs for example.  The point is that there must be a change in the economic value of the resource, and there must be a change in those to whom that value flows, if there is to be a change in the outcome for tigers.  

                •  A couple more points (0+ / 0-)

                  The idea that wildlife was owned by the state, instead of the landowner, arose in colonial America as a reaction to the ownership of wildlife by the lords of England.  This is just one example of uniquely American concepts which may be useful in other contexts, but are not necessary.  So, of course people can own wildlife.  That legal structure is far more common than the alternative structure, that wildlife is "free."  I remember sitting next to a German on a flight back from Europe, who was incredulous that we considered deer to be unowned and that no one took care of them.  In his view, we were simply being foolish.  In Quebec, the ownership of "free" salmon was wrested from control of remote elites and taken by local, quasi-governmental corporations.  There were excellent reasons why this was an improvement both for the residents of the area and for the salmon.  While I am less familiar with the situation in Scotland, similar entities have successfully sued to prevent netters off their stream mouths from taking the entire salmon run on the basis of those ownership rights.  So in some instances, the rights extend even beyond the territory claimed.  That ownership right meant that the run was not decimated.  I am not in favor of a radical change in US policies towards ownership of wildlife, but there are circumstances where a different approach has yielded what I consider to be objectively better results.

                  Frogs are different from tigers.  With frogs, habitat destruction and even poaching may play a role in their reduced numbers in some places, but the driving force seems to be coming from worldwide environmental changes - increased UV light is one cause I have heard of.  The strategies for addressing that problem will necessarily be different from that which might work with large mammals.  

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