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Nature_and_Environment.38

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Love of the Less "Sexy" animals

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.1}: {redleader} Wed, 16 Feb 2005 16:33:04 CST (55 lines)
{name removed by chiles Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:52:51 CST}

   Let's face it. Getting sympathy for an endangered species is like
George Orwell's "Animal Farm". Not all animals are created equal. At
least not in the minds of most humans.

   Some animals are simply easier to garner public sympathy than
others.

   And it raises the question of how the respect for animals has
varied and how much it has changed in Western culture.

   Whales and elephants are now virtually icons of environmentalism,
while they were once seen as viscious and fearsome beasts. Similar
changes have occured with attitudes towards bears, wolves, and tigers.

   But in most places it is hard to garner sympathy for say a fish.
Salmon in the Northwest may be a major exception, but overall people
still buy some very endangered fish at grocery stores and restaurants
every day. Most people would be appalled at the idea of eating
elephant steaks, whale meat, or eagle drumsticks but many will still
eat Orange Roughy without a second thought.

   As a side note, even the popular creatures may be coming back into
vogue as food. The bushmeat crisis in Africa is not only generated by
hunger among the poor, but status symbols of not only wealthy
Africans, but some Asians and Westerners as well. Indeed decadent
tastes involving exotic meats have been coming back into style.
(Which as meant poaching in Russia, Asia, and the Americas as well as
in Africa.) Is this because of the "Atkins" diets? Because an
increasing wealth gap is making decadent dining more socially
acceptable? Because westerners are more open to cultures where this
was always acceptable if not always affordable?

   But back to fish. Even Carl Safina pointed out, that a large 800
pound tuna would strain most people's concept of "fish". Indeed in
back when I lived in Arizona, it would have strained mine, something
that is hard to remember now, that I'm a seasoned aquarium volunteer.
(We don't have a huge tuna now, but we may in the near future at
Seattle Aquarium. We do however have a lot of large and grand fish.)

   And it is true. While fish fully deserve to be considered
wildlife, even most environmentalists think of them as a resource,
that should be conserved. Ideas about carrying capacity and fishing
quotas are important, but why can't anyone seem to appreciate that a
muscular fish weighing several hundred pounds is a noble wild animal,
in the same sense any terrestrial creature?

    Amphibians are among the most threatened class in the animal
kingdom, yet get little appreciation as well.

   Insect species are among the most common to die out, but most
people would find a "Save the...." sticker involving a frog or insect
as somebody's idea of a joke.

    How in fact can we get people to appreciate the under appreciated
animals?

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.2}: Red {sggriffith} Wed, 16 Feb 2005 16:39:49 CST (1 line)
{hidden}

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.3}: Suzanne Griffith {sggriffith} Wed, 16 Feb 2005 16:41:29 CST (5 lines)

Good topic. I imagine there are people who get paid to worry about
largely unknown or unpopular endangered species but we don't hear from
them much out here in pop media land. Personally, I pay attention to
plant issues, but not much to animals and there are a lot of them in
trouble, as you suggest.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.4}: {redleader} Wed, 16 Feb 2005 17:12:28 CST (4 lines)
{hidden}{name removed by chiles Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:52:51 CST}

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.5}: thanks! {sggriffith} Wed, 16 Feb 2005 17:31:34 CST (0 lines)


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{Nature_and_Environment.38.6}: Liane S. {gamber} Wed, 16 Feb 2005 18:33:47 CST (7 lines)

I used to work at a breeding preserve for endangered carnivores.
There were civets, binturongs, kinkajous, tayra, servals, caracals,
and sun bears that all were in need of "saving", but the director
kept a population of tigers just for PR. Everyone wanted to see,
adopt, talk about and visit the tigers. The director said they earned
money for everyone else because the public was so dumb and small
minded.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.7}: {redleader} Thu, 17 Feb 2005 12:39:20 CST (1 line)
{name removed by chiles Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:52:51 CST}

  Servals, and civets are pretty cool animals! I'd think.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.8}: Anita Keese {anodekraft} Thu, 17 Feb 2005 13:43:44 CST (6 lines)

I love spiders most of all.  They are totally sexy.  And snakes and
lizards too.  But my friends don't think so.

I also get frustrated by people willing to give money to animal
causes far away, but they ignore the species that are dying off in
their own neighborhood.  No, THESE are pests.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.9}: {redleader} Thu, 17 Feb 2005 13:59:09 CST (5 lines)
{name removed by chiles Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:52:51 CST}

   I've always liked frogs, but most people sadly won't prioritize
them.

   A lot of people in the Seattle area are totally irrational about
the large numbers of Canadian geese.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.10}: Anita Keese {anodekraft} Thu, 17 Feb 2005 14:12:45 CST (4 lines)

It all comes down to mother..."ooh!, shoo bee!, kill it!  it's a
poisonous spider!, you're gonna get bitten!, get away from that nasty
dog!, don't pet that cat! it has rabies"....justified concerns...but
they stick with us, I fear.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.11}: Suzanne Griffith {sggriffith} Thu, 17 Feb 2005 14:16:26 CST (3 lines)

I'm trying to influence my granddaughter so she thinks bugs are
interesting rather than creepy, but her mother works against me. She's
a serious spider screamer. I don't think she's really my daughter ;-)

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.12}: {redleader} Thu, 17 Feb 2005 15:05:20 CST (28 lines)
{name removed by chiles Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:52:51 CST}

It all comes down to mother..."ooh!, shoo bee!, kill it!  it's a
poisonous spider!, you're gonna get bitten!, get away from that nasty
dog!, don't pet that cat! it has rabies"....justified concerns...but
they stick with us, I fear.>>>>

  I don't really think, parents have such absolute influence over how
their children turn out. My mom has a fear of snakes, but my brother
and I, never did. My Dad hates all animals except for his spoiled
rotten pet beagle. And being a huge believer in Freud, he thinks the
whole movement to save the forests is influenced solely by the shape
of the trees, and will react with total dismissal to any suggestion
that reasons involving soil, global warming or biodiversity have
anything to do with it. And his attitude towards any notion that
natural beauty is anything beyond the shape of the trees is also a
sort of "Yeah right!". Thank God, his attitudes didn't rub off on me
and my brother at all.

   I also know one marine biologist who's son is a complete wuss and
won't put his hands in sea water. And I knew a veterinarian who's
daughter is so scared of blood that the girls first year of
menstruation almost landed her in a mental hospital.

I'm trying to influence my granddaughter so she thinks bugs are
interesting rather than creepy, but her mother works against me. She's
a serious spider screamer. I don't think she's really my daughter ;-)
>>>>

  She's probably rebelling against her "hippie" mother.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.13}: Suzanne Griffith {sggriffith} Thu, 17 Feb 2005 15:26:28 CST (1 line)

No doubt.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.14}: Anita Keese {anodekraft} Thu, 17 Feb 2005 16:28:48 CST (10 lines)

"And being a huge believer in Freud, he thinks the
whole movement to save the forests is influenced solely by the shape
of the trees, and will react with total dismissal to any suggestion
that reasons involving soil, global warming or biodiversity have
anything to do with it."

Wow, this is fascinating!  One for the books!

Come to think of it, my mother hates spiders too.  What else could it
bee?

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.15}: {redleader} Thu, 17 Feb 2005 18:05:51 CST (8 lines)
{name removed by chiles Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:52:51 CST}

No doubt>>>

   The incidence of animal fears-except those involving large scary
animals-increases more in adolescence and early adulthood than any
other age.

  This tends to suggest that it isn't parents, but society as a whole
that induces it.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.16}: Ray Reynolds {somemuse} Thu, 17 Feb 2005 18:10:30 CST (1 line)

Hail the warm fuzzy little polio virus?

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.17}: {redleader} Thu, 17 Feb 2005 18:17:51 CST (1 line)
{name removed by chiles Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:52:51 CST}

  Spider, frogs, and snakes won't cause paralysis.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.18}: Ray Reynolds {somemuse} Fri, 18 Feb 2005 19:42:53 CST (1 line)

Um, actually they do cause paralysis.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.19}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Fri, 18 Feb 2005 19:46:15 CST (HTML)

All spiders, frogs and snakes Ray?

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.20}: Ray Reynolds {somemuse} Fri, 18 Feb 2005 20:48:36 CST (1 line)

Nope, just the ones that cause paralysis.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.21}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Fri, 18 Feb 2005 21:20:04 CST (HTML)

Ray, fascinating that I saw your post on the heels of your post in another topic where you criticize environmental groups for using hyperbole for effect. Then you do the same here. I guess it's OK for you to do it huh?

You posted a generalization which makes all of them look dangerous, you weren't very specific. How about getting specific if you know so much?

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.22}: {redleader} Sat, 19 Feb 2005 14:27:07 CST (2 lines)
{name removed by chiles Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:52:51 CST}

   Actually only 2% of all snakes are venemous and most spiders are
not seriously dangerous for humans.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.23}: Liane S. {gamber} Sat, 19 Feb 2005 14:48:43 CST (5 lines)

And frogs and toads are usually harmless enough, but God-substitute
help you when they're not.

Good to know the dangerous snakes, spiders, bugs, lizards, frogs,
mammals, in any area you visit. Leave it at that.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.24}: Ray Reynolds {somemuse} Sat, 19 Feb 2005 16:19:35 CST (10 lines)

Tom, I posted a generalization in response to a generalization, did
you expect either of us to make a list?

Generally its a bad idea to pet rattlesnakes, share a sleeping bag
with black widows or kiss South American frogs but I certainly don't
wish to impede your closeness with nature.

It would not suprise me to hear bacteria are one of the most
valuable "creatures" on earth and generally we have launched an all
out campaign to kill them.

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{Nature_and_Environment.38.25}: Suzanne Griffith {sggriffith} Sat, 19 Feb 2005 16:25:34 CST (2 lines)

I think you would not be able to digest food at all without bacteria.
Do you really want to live alone on earth?

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