[Taxacom] Conservation (Canadian coin controversy)

murrellze murrellze at appstate.edu
Wed Jan 12 07:38:46 CST 2011


Although I'm not familiar with this "coin controversy" I do think it is 
worth noting that protection of populations at the periphery of a 
species' range is a worthwhile and important part of conservation in 
general.  These peripheral populations may possess unique alleles or 
they may exist in unique habitats.  Sounds like the inclusion of 
multiple types of "rarity" on this coin provides an excellent 
opportunity to help educate the public on conservation biology issues.

Zack Murrell

Kenneth Kinman wrote:
> Dear All,
>          A controversy has arisen over a new Canadian coin which
> supposedly should help promote the conservation of certain endangered
> species which occur in the National Parks of Canada.  Two of the four
> species pictured on the coin have stirred no controversy whatsoever
> (especially the Whooping Crane).  However, two of the other species do
> not occur in Canadian National Parks at all.          
>         Of those two species, the southern maidenhair fern is
> particularly controversial, since it not only does NOT occur in Canadian
> National Parks, but occurs by chance in one tiny spot in Canada.  This
> would not be so bad, except that this species grows like a weed in the
> southeastern United States.  That it should be protected in Canada (at
> all) is questionable, but that it should be place on such a coin along
> with the Whooping Crane is (to use the term of other critics)
> "ridiculous".              
>        The term "triage" seems appropriate here.  A species like the
> whooping crane should clearly be protected, but something like this fern
> (which is quite common in the United States, makes no sense.  Even the
> Canadian researcher whose work lead to the listing of this fern as
> endangered in Canada says that it "weird" to have included it on this
> coin.  The only thing that one can wonder (about those who approved
> including this fern on the coin) is "what were they thinking?"                    
>       That a species is in danger of extirpation in a VERY tiny outlying
> area (far from its natural range) has nothing to do with the danger of
> its extinction as a species.  Were there any biologists involved in this
> decision at all?  It's not even close to being a subspecies, and I
> wouldn't be terribly surprised if it was introduced there by people (on
> purpose or by accident).  In any case, it seems to be Much Ado About
> Nothing.   But I guess it is now too late to take it off the coin, and
> they should have consulted knowledgeable biologists before such a
> questionable decision was made (presumably by some governmental
> bureaucrat).  
>             ----------Ken Kinman                        
> http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/photos/Parks%2BCanada%2Bcoin%2Babsolutely%2Bridiculous%2Bcritics/4072078/story.html
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