PDA

View Full Version : Another idiot gets caught



FLYGUY
01-27-2010, 06:02 AM
Man jailed over 44 lizards in underwear - World environment- msnbc.com (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35087361/ns/world_news-world_environment/)

Caught smuggling 44 geckos and skinks in his underwear ! Just what we needed ! JERRY

Turtlestork
01-27-2010, 06:26 AM
I always wonder...for how many of these get caught, how many make it through? Poor animals :(

Sebastian
01-27-2010, 10:36 AM
That's the same a guy as in this thread: http://www.geckosunlimited.com/community/new-zealand-geckos-hoplodactylus-naultinus/44941-bad-news.html

willbenn
01-27-2010, 07:04 PM
"44" WOW thats a lot of geckos to have in your underwear. as part of the sentencing, hope the guy told the nz authorities exactly where he found them so they can be taken home and safely released

seonage
02-05-2010, 09:08 AM
I always wonder...for how many of these get caught, how many make it through? Poor animals :(

I agree with this thought...

what a same!!

aquapimp
02-05-2010, 09:34 AM
We can only hope he did not eat Mexican food before underwear insertion...

seonage
02-05-2010, 09:49 AM
jajajaj

rx7master
02-05-2010, 10:34 AM
i wonder if they confiscated the legless "one eyed" skink and returned it to the wild. :-)

aquapimp
02-05-2010, 10:40 AM
LOL! :crackup:

gerhard
02-07-2010, 04:42 AM
Flyguy,

Why do you call the German and Jerry like an Idiot??? Where would be all the reptile keepers and breeders of Naultinus, Nephrurus, Strophurus for example, if not some guys take the risk on and try to get some animals.
Which animals do you keep??
For the future, please, switch on your brain before you post a topic and to insult other person.

Gerhard

heiser
02-07-2010, 12:39 PM
Gerhard,

Instead of asking others to "turn on their brains", I might ask you to turn on yours along with your morality. The man is a theif stealing another countries fauna because he greedily wants it for his collection or to make money from. If we didn't have your beloved smugglers/theives we would need to get our geckos from legitimate sources, such as zoo stock. Maybe this is harder to get for you or more expensive, but at least legal and obtained from a country with it's permission.

Think of how mad you would be if I came to your house and stole your geckos. You would demand I be arrested and punished. My justification is the geckos are hard to get and I wanted them. Why would this be different?

Funny thing is poachers are treated quite differently than thieves even though they are stealing from these countries. Think how outraged people get when they hear a collector or breeder had his/her collection stolen. This same outrage is less existent when considering poachers/smugglers. I often hear ridiculous arguments that I owe my gecko collection to poachers and smugglers....that's how they came to be in the herp trade. Many people aren't patient enough to get the animals from legitimate sources (e.g., Zoos or scientific institutes). There are legit avenues and these are the right way to get herps. Expensive at first, but prices drop as cb animals increase.

I strongly believe it is the individual countries right to determine how they want to go about conservering their natural resources and I have no right stealing animals simply by justifying it as "saving" them. if you want them that badly just keep offering money until they say yes and sell them to you. Not willing to pay a million dollars for a gecko...oh well get a leo. I'm not (yet) willing to pay a few hundred grand for that ferrari, but I haven't stolen one.

John

Sebastian
02-07-2010, 01:05 PM
This guy is thief, no doubt.
But, how many of the Australian/NZ herps came from whatever "legal" sources ? That for sure is the minority. So I think it is not rediculous to say that many (if not most) of our animals came from smugglers.
Do you honestly got all your australian herps from a zoo or scientific institute ? I don't think so, because there are many CB (now). But where did those animals come from originally ?

I think, everybody who has australian/NZ herps is a tad hypocritical by owning those animals and judging others who are stealing them from their home countries. IMHO morally it's not that big difference.

Best,

Sebastian

aquapimp
02-07-2010, 01:42 PM
I kinda' look at it like Robin Hood. Yeah, a thief, but......

heiser
02-07-2010, 04:19 PM
Hi Sebastian,

I would only agree with you if one buys animals directly from a smuggler or known to be illegally obtained. I do not think it is hypocritical if my animals are descendents of smuggled or illegally obtained animals. I can explain my position via a drug dealer analogy. Here in the US local police confiscate money, homes cars, etc. that was used by drug dealers or obtained with drug money. This confiscated cash, etc. is then used by the police how ever they need in the police activities. I think it would be ignorant to equate, morally, the police use of this drug money as the police profiting from drug dealing. Rather the police are taking a bad situation (drug sales/use) that already occurred and trying to make the best future outcome.

We had a local case where a group of Phelsuma (serraticauda and flavigularis) came in illegally (falsely obtained government papers). The animals were confiscated and sent to several local zoos that specialized in phelsuma. This is typical; that the animals go to zoos and are not returned to the country of origin because the country of origin doesnít want them back. The animals canít be re-introduced to the wild for fear of diseases they may have gotten in transport with other animals. So, now a group of animals exist in zoos and it is legal for the zoos to sell their excess offspring. Now as a hobbyist I have "profited" due to a smugglerís actions. However, morally it is not equivalent. The wildlife agencies made the best of a bad situation. They could have destroyed the animals but that punishes the animals and also keeps them rare in collections, which entices further smuggling. I have also gotten geckos from zoos that were obtained by the zoos from the country quite legally as many countries will export limited numbers to zoos to keep proper (bloodline registered) groups of captive animals or in exchange for animals from our zoos that they want. This later method of getting animals into the hobby is slower but exists.

Regards,
John

SDPete
02-08-2010, 01:31 AM
Hi John,
I don't mean to be an ass.. but long hard day and here I am.
Can you justify all of the animals you keep as being completely legal AND justifiable? I will admit I don't know the complete history of all of these critters in captivity...
BTW... your 'legal' methods of aquireing animals STILL REQUIRE SOMEONE to break the law.... it is okay if it is not you??????
Your:
L. williamsi? truely CB?
D. galeatus?
P. platurus?
-Peter

heiser
02-08-2010, 10:27 AM
Hi John,
I don't mean to be an ass.. but long hard day and here I am.
Can you justify all of the animals you keep as being completely legal AND justifiable? I will admit I don't know the complete history of all of these critters in captivity...
BTW... your 'legal' methods of aquireing animals STILL REQUIRE SOMEONE to break the law.... it is okay if it is not you??????
Your:
L. williamsi? truely CB?
D. galeatus?
P. platurus?
-Peter

Hi Peter,

No problem, we are all asses at one time or another. I'll take the easy part first. I don't need to justify my owning geckos any more than saying I like to keep them. I don't succumb to the HSUS or PETA anti-pet philosophies, so keeping them doesn't present any moral issue for me. I will caveat that with I do take very good care of them and while I have a large collection I limit it to the point that I do not sacrifice care of any of them.

If you were hinting at taking them from the wild might present conservation concerns, I agree. However, I generally leave that up to the country of origin. If they feel exports (hopefully limited numbers) are OK I see no problem with that. I do believe that cb stocks can remove the incentives for both poaching and exporting wc. So, I do believe cb programs are good. And, no, my first L. williamsi came in as exports. But they came in as legal exports. While I questioned (and still do) the sustainability of the wild population given the extremely tiny reserve they are associated with, apparently Tanzania felt it was beneficial to their country. Perhaps they sacrificed conservation over economics, I don't know. But, I do consider that their choice. BTW, I have done very well with my two trios and have given most of my offspring away to geckophiles I know will sustain the cb population. As cb stock rises, this will hopefully reduce the economic value of them and lessen the pressure on Tanzania to export them to extirpation (but that is a separate issue). I don't consider wc as illegal or immoral simply because they are wc and you will find that the US legally exported quite a few native wc herps (re: coleonyx). I can see that it could be considered immoral if the exportation lead to extirpation or extinction. Hopefully, the experts in a country will make good conservation decisions.. Do they always? No, of course not, they often balance economic concerns of the country and sacrifice natural resources. We all then need to decide how we want to deal with such matters, to buy or boycott. In this, each individual case needs to be considered seperately. I am OK with and would support a boycott on imports if the CITES experts felt the exportation would endanger a population.

Your last point being that I don't care if they were originally illegally gotten is an over simplification. If you read what I said you would see my preference is for LEGALLY obtained zoo stock. Zoos often can obtain what is unobtainable to you or I. These are fully legally obtained animals and when a zoo sells excess offspring (which is becoming more common as they realize income from this) I see nothing wrong there.

As to those animals confiscated from smugglers, I thought I made my point fairly clear. I do not see a problem with the authorities giving the animals to zoos and then offspring eventually making their way to the pet trade. If there were no poachers and smugglers stealing these animals, you are probably right; many would not yet be available to the pet trade or in zoos as they are not "major attractions" for zoos. So, they would not be in my collection. I think to assert that any societal gain from criminal proceeds is immoral is asinine. It is not immoral to return illegal proceeds (in this case, geckos) back to society. This might allow that society to prevent future crimes (in this case further smuggling). That the harm done by criminals is partly off set by small gains to lawful citizens seems right to me.

Regards,
John

seonage
02-08-2010, 10:44 AM
Gerhard,

Instead of asking others to "turn on their brains", I might ask you to turn on yours along with your morality. The man is a theif stealing another countries fauna because he greedily wants it for his collection or to make money from. If we didn't have your beloved smugglers/theives we would need to get our geckos from legitimate sources, such as zoo stock. Maybe this is harder to get for you or more expensive, but at least legal and obtained from a country with it's permission.

Think of how mad you would be if I came to your house and stole your geckos. You would demand I be arrested and punished. My justification is the geckos are hard to get and I wanted them. Why would this be different?

Funny thing is poachers are treated quite differently than thieves even though they are stealing from these countries. Think how outraged people get when they hear a collector or breeder had his/her collection stolen. This same outrage is less existent when considering poachers/smugglers. I often hear ridiculous arguments that I owe my gecko collection to poachers and smugglers....that's how they came to be in the herp trade. Many people aren't patient enough to get the animals from legitimate sources (e.g., Zoos or scientific institutes). There are legit avenues and these are the right way to get herps. Expensive at first, but prices drop as cb animals increase.

I strongly believe it is the individual countries right to determine how they want to go about conservering their natural resources and I have no right stealing animals simply by justifying it as "saving" them. if you want them that badly just keep offering money until they say yes and sell them to you. Not willing to pay a million dollars for a gecko...oh well get a leo. I'm not (yet) willing to pay a few hundred grand for that ferrari, but I haven't stolen one.
John

Absolutly agree.

Justin
02-08-2010, 12:38 PM
As to those animals confiscated from smugglers, I thought I made my point fairly clear. I do not see a problem with the authorities giving the animals to zoos and then offspring eventually making their way to the pet trade. If there were no poachers and smugglers stealing these animals, you are probably right; many would not yet be available to the pet trade or in zoos as they are not "major attractions" for zoos. So, they would not be in my collection. I think to assert that any societal gain from criminal proceeds is immoral is asinine. It is not immoral to return illegal proceeds (in this case, geckos) back to society. This might allow that society to prevent future crimes (in this case further smuggling). That the harm done by criminals is partly off set by small gains to lawful citizens seems right to me.

This seems very morally ambiguous to me. To me you can't criticise that which you take advantage of.

My two cents.

DDReptiles
02-08-2010, 01:19 PM
John I agree on many of your points, but I also see where Justin is coming from.

If the gecko trade, or even the reptile industry was dependent on what zoo's (AZA accredited) get in then we would be in the stone age as to what and how many species are available. As zoo's for the most part don't care much for the reptile dept, as not many reptiles are what people pay to see...people want your keystone species...lions, tigers, gorillas, rhinos, etc. First of all zoo's from what I read John, you assume that zoos (again AZA accredited institutions) do everything legally. I could cite you several books (not cases, but books of cases) as to how many times zoo's are just as irresponsible and ruthless as the common smuggler/theif. I could also go on all day about reports of what zoo's (again, major institutions like the National Zoo, Seaworld, etc.) have done to no longer needed animals...ex: selling old hoofed animals (zebra, giraffes, etc.) to big game hunters in Texas.

Anyways back to Justin's point......if we ( the gecko hobby) were dependent on only confiscated animals to get new bloodlines, species, etc. Then I think we would find ourselves begging for more smugglers to get caught. I think you could argue in your reference to common law, does a police station really want all crime to vanish as then we would have a lot of cops/lawyers out of work.

I'll try to post more later..gotta get to class, but interesting debate.

Riverside Reptiles
02-08-2010, 01:48 PM
I have a busy day and don't have time to delve too deeply into this myself right now. But another thing to think of is that every time some schmuck gets arrested for smuggling herps, it gives the gov't, groups like peta, and the general public yet another reason to work against our hobby. It makes us as a whole look irresponsible and dishonest. These people are a reflection of our hobby. As for being a hypocrite...I don't see it. Because I work with levis or amyae that come from bloodlines that may have been smuggled 20 years ago does not make me a hypocrite. As long as I've done everything in my power to make sure that my animals are legal, I've done my part. Robin hood? I don't think so. These people do it for profit, not to feed the hungry. They do it for ego, not to serve the community or the hobby. They may be nice guys...you may have personal ties to them...you may own animals from them...but they're still breaking the law and reflecting poorly on us as a community.

Sebastian
02-08-2010, 01:56 PM
Nice discussion :)
I just meant what Derek said. We wouldn't have such a great diversity in the hobby without those "bad" ppl. For me it makes no difference if the animals have been smuggled last year or 20 years ago.

aquapimp
02-08-2010, 02:02 PM
I'd venture to say that more has been learned about geckos (and other exotics) by the private sector than by most accredited zoological institutions.

I think smuggling geckos for herpetoculture (regardless of economics) is decidedly different than say... poaching rhinos for their horns.

For those so opposed to the "morals" regarding the smugglers, please keep in mind that demand does indeed contribute to the reasons for risking prosecution.

Simply posting all these great photos of Australian taxa on forums such as this helps to fuel the desire to work with "unobtainable" species.

I guess as keepers of Australian species, we are all "guilty" of every accusation listed to some extent.

DDReptiles
02-08-2010, 02:08 PM
As long as I've done everything in my power to make sure that my animals are legal, I've done my part.

Would that involve not working with the animals? You would have to see that it is very likely your animals are decendants of smuggled animals (I don't know any zoo bringing levis in ;-) ) so therefore you are still benefitting from the results of a theif. Can't just turn a blind-eye.

Not trying to attack you Ethan ;-) I am in the same boat as you..if not more guilty!! (picturing the cops pulling up and handcuffing me :lol:)

Edit, I figure I will post my overall view of this trade.....if there was someway that I could give back offspring to supplement wild populations I would do it in a heartbeat. I am much more interested in learning about the species and trying to help wild populations through captive breeding programs than I am about becoming rich by exploiting them. Unfortunately there isn't any program that would allow to do this.

Justin
02-08-2010, 02:24 PM
For those so opposed to the "morals" regarding the smugglers, please keep in mind that demand does indeed contribute to the reasons for risking prosecution..

Excellent point.

aquapimp
02-08-2010, 02:26 PM
Am I erroneous in assuming that letting some specimens enter the hobby (smuggled or legally obtained) is nowheres near as deleterious to a species or ecosystem as building highways, decimating forests, depleting ozone, etc. etc?

I would imagine that most of us posting are driving cars, burning fossil fuels, eating meat, reproducing and other "negative" activities that have the potential to impact wild populations of Gekkonids and all other life forms.

DDReptiles
02-08-2010, 02:36 PM
Am I erroneous in assuming that letting some specimens enter the hobby (smuggled or legally obtained) is nowheres near as deleterious to a species or ecosystem as building highways, decimating forests, depleting ozone, etc. etc?

I would imagine that most of us posting are driving cars, burning fossil fuels, eating meat, reproducing and other "negative" activities that have the potential to impact wild populations of Gekkonids and all other life forms.

I think everyone would agree to that, but one also has to realize that the undeground animal trade (granted reptiles (geckos specifically) are probably a small piece of the pie) is the 2nd largest illegal market in the world...after the drug trade.

Riverside Reptiles
02-08-2010, 02:40 PM
My point is that I've done my best to purchase animals that are cb and from a cb source (when were talking aussies). I have no way to trace these bloodlines back to where they originated from. Not all aussie herps came from smuggled animals. Dr. Dan just a few years ago mentioned that he had a way to legally import/export from Aus. for zoological institutions. If you do a search you can probably find the thread. In any case, hypocrite or not for owning animals whos 20 year old relatives may or may not have been smuggled, does not justify current, ongoing, smuggling of animals.

And @ Tom's picture statement...come on man...saying that posting photos of rare geckos justifies smuggling of rare geckos is like saying that posting pictures of nice boobs would justify rape. Nor does the supply and demand analogy hold up. There's a demand for heroin...doesn't mean that it's right to provide it. There's a demand for assassins...doesn't justify murder.

The end simply does not justify the means. I'll man up and accept the title as a hypocrite if that really makes any difference. But as I said, it still doesn't justify ongoing smuggling.

Justin
02-08-2010, 02:45 PM
My point is that I've done my best to purchase animals that are cb and from a cb source (when were talking aussies). I have no way to trace these bloodlines back to where they originated from. Not all aussie herps came from smuggled animals. Dr. Dan just a few years ago mentioned that he had a way to legally import/export from Aus. for zoological institutions. If you do a search you can probably find the thread. In any case, hypocrite or not for owning animals whos 20 year old relatives may or may not have been smuggled, does not justify current, ongoing, smuggling of animals.

And @ Tom's picture statement...come on man...saying that posting photos of rare geckos justifies smuggling of rare geckos is like saying that posting pictures of nice boobs would justify rape. Nor does the supply and demand analogy hold up. There's a demand for heroin...doesn't mean that it's right to provide it. There's a demand for assassins...doesn't justify murder.

The end simply does not justify the means. I'll man up and accept the title as a hypocrite if that really makes any difference. But as I said, it still doesn't justify ongoing smuggling.

I don't think we are talking justification but the fact that you buy Aussie geckos from highly likely smuggled descendants perpetuates more being smuggled. If you were that against it you wouldn't buy them.

Riverside Reptiles
02-08-2010, 02:50 PM
I don't think we are talking justification but the fact that you buy Aussie geckos from highly likely smuggled descendants perpetuates more being smuggled. If you were that against it you wouldn't buy them.

But that's simply not true. There's plenty of levis levis here. There's plenty of amyae here. There's nobody wasting time smuggling those. And my purchase of a captive bred levis doesn't perpetuate smuggling of anything. That's like saying my purchase of a dog perpetuates smuggling of rare wolf species.

DDReptiles
02-08-2010, 02:50 PM
Dr. Dan just a few years ago mentioned that he had a way to legally import/export from Aus. for zoological institutions. If you do a search you can probably find the thread.

Just before someone goes on a goose chase again,

I tried this to every extent possible last year, numerous emails to every email address I could find on Queensland EPA website, including the email Dr. Dan provided. I also talked to him extensively about it when I visited his place last year as to whether it was really possible. Granted it was a year or so after he originally posted the thread, there was no easy way to do it. There was one page on the QEPA website that I did find that mentioned exporting of live animals but the email address asscociated with it didn't work when tried.

I know it can be done, as Baltimore zoo got some fresh australian stuff for that new exhibit they have....but when I tried it was like trying to paddle up a class 5 rapids.

Justin
02-08-2010, 02:52 PM
You really don't think new bloodlines of Aussie geckos are finding their way into the hobby? They are.

Riverside Reptiles
02-08-2010, 03:12 PM
Just before someone goes on a goose chase again,

I tried this to every extent possible last year, numerous emails to every email address I could find on Queensland EPA website, including the email Dr. Dan provided. I also talked to him extensively about it when I visited his place last year as to whether it was really possible. Granted it was a year or so after he originally posted the thread, there was no easy way to do it. There was one page on the QEPA website that I did find that mentioned exporting of live animals but the email address asscociated with it didn't work when tried.

I know it can be done, as Baltimore zoo got some fresh australian stuff for that new exhibit they have....but when I tried it was like trying to paddle up a class 5 rapids.


I certainly wasn't trying to imply that there was an easy way to do it. But only meant to imply that it has and can be done legally and that not all aussie animals in the country are a result of smuggling.

Riverside Reptiles
02-08-2010, 03:17 PM
You really don't think new bloodlines of Aussie geckos are finding their way into the hobby? They are.


Maybe so but that doesn't mean that my owning of aussie animals perpetuates that. In fact, it would decrease it. By captive breeding, I'm decreasing said demand for a wild caught animal to the general public. The people that would purchase these smuggled bloodlines knowingly would be those that are perpetuating. I'm perfectly happy with the bloodlines that I have and would not knowingly purchase a smuggled animal.

Justin
02-08-2010, 03:25 PM
Maybe so but that doesn't mean that my owning of aussie animals perpetuates that. In fact, it would decrease it. By captive breeding, I'm decreasing said demand for a wild caught animal to the general public. The people that would purchase these smuggled bloodlines knowingly would be those that are perpetuating. I'm perfectly happy with the bloodlines that I have and would not knowingly purchase a smuggled animal.

I'm not imlying you would intentionally buy a smuggled animal Ethan, sorry if you thought I was.

You have to consider that there are new bloodlines introduced to the hobby with or without your knowledge in order to reinvigorate stagnant genepools of amyae, levis levis etc.

Riverside Reptiles
02-08-2010, 03:30 PM
I'm not imlying you would intentionally buy a smuggled animal Ethan, sorry if you thought I was.

You have to consider that there are new bloodlines introduced to the hobby with or without your knowledge in order to reinvigorate stagnant genepools of amyae, levis levis etc.


I understand what you're saying Justin. And it's probably true. But that doesn't make every owner of an Aussie gecko a hypocrite if they don't like the idea of smuggling herps. That's all that my point is on that particular subject.

This topic obviously has many different facets (as well as many different opinions). It's nice that we can all have an adult conversation about it without anyone blowing up or freaking out. Good job on everyone's part for making that happen. Thank you all for helping to make (and keep) GU a place where we can have these sorts of debates on an adult level.

aquapimp
02-08-2010, 04:26 PM
Great follow up Ethan. It was refreshing to interject different views, opinions and sides to a real concern to all of us in one form or another, without belligerence.

Now, if I could just get these damn Carphodactylus stains out of my tighty whities...

DDReptiles
02-08-2010, 05:19 PM
Now, if I could just get these damn Carphodactylus stains out of my tighty whities...

:lol: I hear Pseudothecadactylus poop works as a counteracter

WingedWolfPsion
02-08-2010, 07:12 PM
I see both of sides of the issue--I truly do. I think that conservationists are often making a huge mistake in barring any exportation of endangered species. I think captive breeding programs should deliberately sell animals to established and knowledgeable private reptile breeders, and secure the species on a global scale, as well as working to prevent illegal trafficking and protecting habitat, and reintroducing animals to bolster wild populations.

Proliferating an endangered species by selling it into private collections across the globe is being done with plants, successfully. Take the Wollemi pine--you can buy a tree species that's been around for 200 million years, and is currently represented in the wild by a mere 100 adult specimens in a secluded valley. The Wollemi pine will not go extinct now. If a raging fire takes out the entire valley, if a meteorite strikes it and destroys the entire habitat, Wollemi pines will continue to thrive. Proceeds from the sale of the trees is going to fund the protection of the valley and conservation efforts. Imagine new reptile bloodlines being offered through captive-breeding programs run by conservation organizations, and the funds from the sale of offspring going back to help protect the habitats of the animals being bred. This is the way it should be done--because it works.

I think that no species is so secure as it is once it's become widely captive bred for the reptile hobby. However, I think that many smugglers are raging idiots. They take animals from the wild without regard to the status or stability of the wild population, they take as many as they can get, and they do not transport them in a fashion that is likely to result in their continued health.

In his underwear? Seriously? How many animals died, being transported in that fashion?

So no, supporting the efforts of smugglers is not an ethical thing to do. Continuing to captive-breed species that are already here is, whether they were initially smuggled or not. As has been pointed out, you can't put them back, but you can make sure that the number undoubtedly lost in the process didn't die in vain, and that the species will be preserved even if wild conservation efforts fail. Which they will in some cases, because habitat loss is so thorough, fast, and impossible to stop in countries with many poor and hungry people, and political unrest.

We're losing species at an alarming rate--the illegal pet trade is responsible for accelerating some of those losses, without any doubt. It should never be thought that smugglers are doing a good thing. But I don't believe anyone should feel they're supporting smugglers by keeping species that were once smuggled in--if you didn't buy the animal from the smuggler, then you're not the one supporting him. The species benefits from having a reservoir population in captivity.

casey
02-08-2010, 11:28 PM
I find points of agreement with both sides of this debate. In the end, however, I think it comes down to all of us being too greedy, and almost feeling a sense of entitlement to own these animals in the first place. We are all guilty to some extent. It's an all too common scenario...leopard geckos become a bore, I want some Naultinus or Hoplodactylus. Zebra finches are "so yesterday", I must have a Spix's macaw. Similar cases play out every day in the "exotic' animal hobby. We grow tired of the same old same old, and we desire something a little more exotic...something a little rarer. I may get angry criticism for this post, but dare I say that I almost wished HR669 had passed. I think things have gone too far, and if the last exotics I owned were the ones currently in my personal collection than so be it. As far as morals. How many of you would turn down the chance to acquire a few Saltuarius moritzi, or Phyllurus kabikabi (two Aussie natives described as recently as 2008)? Hmmmm? I wholly agree that seeing images of new, exciting species fuels demand to obtain them, and that truly disturbs me, but at the same time we the general public would never be made aware of the amazing biodiversity we share our planet with otherwise.
In this day and age we can obtain aardvarks to zebras, fossas and lemurs, rhinos (yes I've seen them available), big cats and rare marmosets, Boelen's python, gazelles, cassowaries, hyenas, king cobras, radiated tortoises, virtually any fish, etc, etc, etc. I think the line as to what is acceptable to be "owned" as a "pet" was crossed long long ago. Can anyone who owns any of the Naultinus, Hoplodactylus, and Saltuarius spp. honestly with a clean conscience tell me that they would bother with them in the first place if there was zero chance of a profit? Kudos if you can honestly say yes! I love this forum and geckos in general, but I'll always be more conservation oriented than anything else, and I just think everything has gone too far, and needs to change drastically. I'll end my ramble here, but as I stated earlier it just seems as though we have this arrogant sense of entitlement with ownership of these animals, like it's a Constitutional right or something.

Riverside Reptiles
02-08-2010, 11:45 PM
These last two posts have brought the element of conservation into the discussion which adds an entire other can of worms to the conversation because it involves not just the smuggling and illegal side of our hobby but the legal side too. This could end up being a very long thread. So, I'm going to move it from the New Zealand forum into the more appropriate Ethics and Politics forum. Let's please keep this thread civil and at an adult level. Any newbies checking this out please take note as to how we relate to each other around here. Anyone not able to act as an adult will be removed from the conversation. Thanks again to everyone so far for keeping it real and keeping it adult at the same time.

WingedWolfPsion
02-09-2010, 02:14 AM
Is the hunger of people to own, propagate, and establish reservoir populations of rare species really a bad thing?

Does it matter what their motivations are? The more valuable an animal is, the more likely it is to be well taken care of. Value is often equated with monetary value--that isn't going to change. The end result is the same, regardless of the motivation, isn't it?

Look how green anoles are being treated in the industry right now. This is a troubled little lizard, its habitat is being overrun by aggressive invasive species, and its numbers in the wild, while still very high, are in obvious decline.

It's sold for a buck a piece, and used as feeder for lizard-eating snakes.

I love green anoles, personally, and when I actually have the room for non-business herps, I will keep and breed them. They're terrific animals, and they make great display subjects for a planted viv. While I'm not familiar with the species you listed, I can honestly say that yes--I will be interested in keeping and propagating animals that have low monetary value, simply because they're not commonly bred, and because they're interesting in their own right.

One of the species on my personal wish list is the desert night lizard, Xantusia vigilis. It's probably worth about $5, or at least it was the last time I saw one available. I want to establish a breeding colony of these animals. I find them interesting, and no one else is doing it. That's reason enough for me. If I had the opportunity to breed an endangered species, it wouldn't matter to me if it was worth 50 cents--I would jump at the opportunity, provided I felt up to the challenge.

I do own a reptile business, and I do select species that have a high price tag--but that alone is not the only reason I choose to work with species.

The very sad truth is that sometimes the first images we see of these animals may be the last images we ever see of them, if they aren't grabbed into captivity and bred fairly quickly. The areas where new species are discovered are frequently troubled--and too often, they're disappearing at a staggering rate of speed.
Hogg Island boa--a dwarfed form of the boa constrictor. Extinct on Hogg Island now, but available in the US rather readily. What this means is that if the island is ever restored, even in part, there will be a population of these animals available to be returned to it.

Conservationists claim that they would never accept animals bred by private breeders into any restoration program. This is a lie. When the conservation programs do not have the animals in the zoo system, and they go extinct in the wild, they go straight to private owners looking for them. They've done this many, many times. They'll even take a hybrid if the species is truly gone. By keeping meticulous records, reptile keepers can make it easier in case conservationists do need to come knocking looking for a species that has been otherwise lost.

Money isn't bad. Putting a high price tag on an animal isn't bad, either. Things with a high monetary value are generally well-cared-for in this era, if not necessarily in previous ones. This isn't the age of people who acquire expensive animals to show off, but don't care if they die in a week. Folks in the reptile hobby baby their most expensive animals like the living jewels that they are. And those species can only benefit from this attention--an animal's value only gets that high when it can be propagated in captivity.

Take draco lizards--they're not worth thousands because we haven't figured out how to keep and propagate them yet. They're one of the most interesting families of lizards in the world, but you don't see them imported often--just a trickle. And you don't see them selling for huge figures. Only a few dedicated people try to work out the issues with them each year. The moment that problem is solved, their monetary value will go through the roof. It happened with chameleons. The herp community wants species that it can successfully keep and propagate--it doesn't want species that won't thrive in captivity. As a result, those species are less likely to be sold in numbers to the pet trade. You don't see huge numbers of fragile imports in pet stores the way you used to.

The large numbers of people in the private sector who have the skill to keep these delicate animals alive and thriving are a new thing--and their numbers are growing. Private sector people will learn about species zoos aren't even working with, and their knowledge will wind up coming around to help conserve those species, don't doubt it. Being a herpetoculturist is not contrary to being a conservationist.

DDReptiles
02-09-2010, 11:23 PM
I may get angry criticism for this post, but dare I say that I almost wished HR669 had passed. .

While I don't agree that HR669 should of passed like it was originally drawn up, I do think a lot of these species should require special permitting systems. I don't think responsible reptile keepers should have to suffer the consequences from a select few idiots. I do believe a permitting system would if nothing else make the hobby better from a public relations point of view, as well as stop the everyday joe blow from picking up a hatchling burmese or retic not knowing what he/she is getting into.



As far as morals. How many of you would turn down the chance to acquire a few Saltuarius moritzi, or Phyllurus kabikabi (two Aussie natives described as recently as 2008)? Hmmmm?.

For a leaftail guy you ask a tough question :biggrin: But honestly, they are very similar to the species already available. I do think establishing a captive population of them as a backup would be the smart thing to do. I have tried contacting people in the Queensland gov’t about legally exporting animals to breed outside of Australia and then setting up some sort of program that would allow the sale of the offspring into the trade (furthering a captive population) and then using that money to protect the surrounding habitat. A lot of these Australian leaf tail species are limited to a few mountaintops and most of their habitat is surrounded by private land (mostly cleared farming land).


I think the line as to what is acceptable to be "owned" as a "pet" was crossed long long ago.

Speaking for myself, I will say I don't consider many of my geckos "pets". A pet to me is a dog or a cat that I can go run with at the park. Don't get me wrong, I love my reptiles just as much as the next guy....they are all I live and breathe. But to me they are more like representatives of their species.


Can anyone who owns any of the Naultinus, Hoplodactylus, and Saltuarius spp. honestly with a clean conscience tell me that they would bother with them in the first place if there was zero chance of a profit?

While the species you list are expensive, they are really not “profit” animals. I personally keep Saltuarius wyberba and I can say I will be lucky if I break even with my initial investment in them. I make ten times more money breeding crested geckos than I do a lot of these rarer species. So yes I can say I would still work with my wyberba, platurus, caudinnulatus, what have you; even if there was a zero chance of making a profit. But sure I would like to recoup what I initially invested in them, as well as bring in some money to help pay for the caging, food, and labor they require.

Thanks Derek

willbenn
02-10-2010, 01:27 AM
very interesting and thought provoking thread, although i personally don't see the connection with drugs, murder, or burglary. does anyone honestly think that joe bob taking a lizard from the wild is the same as him stealing a lizard from someones collection? i know that most animals are specific to certain places and feel these areas (countries, states, whatever) should be proud of their local fauna, but i dont think any animal is "owned" by that specific place. that would mean we are all "owned" by the country where we were born (or live).

personally, i am torn by this topic. both sides are right, and both sides are wrong. one thing i know for certain is that people like this man with the lizards, or people like us reptile enthusiasts, are not the main reason for the decrease in wild populations. its the people that turn a blind eye to urban sprawl, clear cutting of forests, destruction of habitat for human use, etc. i dont think what this man did was right, but i certainly dont believe his actions really effect the wild populations. i know there are exceptions to every rule, but they are exactly that, exceptions. there are millions more lizards/snakes/turtles/frogs that are killed/affected as a result of human interference not related to collecting, than there are from any collecting attempts. when joe bob walks through an area, he sees and collects 5 lizards. the next day when a bulldozer rolls through the area, it kills the 50-500 lizards that joe didnt see.

cilatusguy
06-13-2010, 11:07 PM
I'd like to see him do it with 44 "tokay geckos" and a hand full of roaches lol.

Gexter
10-24-2010, 06:25 PM
i'd like to see him do it with 44 "tokay geckos" and a hand full of roaches lol.

lmfao