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Re: Dragon's Paradise Lost - re-planting KD's in Oz

--- On Thu, 10/1/09, Augusto Haro <augustoharo@gmail.com> wrote:

> I think something which can help conservation is this: all
> our
> domestic animals, which come mostly from Eurasia and Africa
> generally
> outcompete native faunas in Australia and South America. I
> think this
> is so because we help their reproduction, so, even if they
> are not
> very well adapted, these species would never extinguish
> because we are
> assuring their presence, and their eventual escape into
> feral state.


Indeed. We call cats and dogs: subsidized predators, because they get fed 
regardless of whether, or not they hunt anything.

> Now, what if we just take some animals in danger of
> extinction and
> raise them as pets (more useful for small or
> non-carnivorous critters)
> instead of cats and dogs? In such a case, their
> reproduction would be
> assured by our species, and when they get into the feral
> condition,
> they would be assured in a similar way as are the very
> destructive
> common domestic animals such as dogs, cats and pigs. We
> should also
> prefer also using native animals as food sources (this way,
> escape
> into feral condition would be something good for
> conservation), and
> most materials, always in a sustainable way, of course.


While the idea appears good on the surface, there is a problem with raising 
native animals and then having them released in the wild. Part of it is just 
that they will go into the wild with a lack of fear of humans. That can result 
in native animals turning into pests. 

The other problem is the potential for a captive raised animal to spread 
disease to wild populations. This has happened with gopher tortoises in the 
states. Captive animals that were released into the wild, brought respiratory 
infections from their captive conditions (they were likely released because 
they had said infections). This has resulted in widespread respiratory 
infections in wild tortoise populations.

This is why re-introduction programs are so careful about how they handle their