Thursday, March 03, 2005

Endangered Species: Sage Grouse, Sea Turtles

Westerners got their wish when the federal government declined to list the sage grouse as endangered. But having gotten what they wished for, it’s now their responsibility to keep the bird alive.

In his column in Conservation in Practice, Jon Christensen writes:

The decision not to list the sage grouse signals the beginning of a bold experiment. For many years, people in communities around the West have been arguing that they are the best stewards of local public lands, resources, and wildlife. Now, we're being given the chance to prove it.

I have no opinion about whether the endangered species act is good or bad, a success or a failure. But as Christensen makes clear, whether the species is listed or not makes no difference in terms of the threats it faces. And those threats come from changes and encroachments to habitat brought on by development.

The link, by the way, came from Christensen’s blog, The Uneasy Chair.

And after you read his column, read Carl Safina’s and Wallace J. Nichols’s piece on turtle poaching, which I’d been looking forward to and finally got around the reading. Much of it is preachy, and the conversations they depict themselves as having are unconvincing. It also left me wondering what species of sea turtle they were talking about -- the poachers probably don't discriminate but I wanted to know whether they were leatherbacks or Pacific ridleys or whatever (they certainly weren't Kemp's ridleys, which occasionally visit Long Island Sound but which nest on the Gulf Coast, not the Pacific, of Mexico). But their sketch of a turtle poacher named Gordo is fascinating because of the banality of the character, among other things.

1 Comments:

Anonymous WJ Nichols said...

Tom,

People who eat sea turtle in NW Mexico prefer green turtles, called 'tortuga prieta' locally. But loggerhead and olive ridley turtles are also eaten.

Carl had a tape recorder going during many conversations, so the language, apart from what's lost/transformed by translation, is pretty accurate. Also, during my first meetings with Francisco 10 years ago, the conversation is based on notes in my field notebook and recollection of Francisco's unusual and memorable style.

Thanks for the review!

J.

6:54 PM  

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