[Taxacom] Excusing the inexcusable? (was: Killing of zoo giraffe to avoid inbreeding

Ken Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Mon Feb 10 18:57:11 CST 2014




Hi Mike,
       Well, money was no problem because a wealthy benefactor offered a whopping 415,000 pounds to help save Marius.  And the Yorkshire Wildlife Park has room for 16 giraffes, but apparently still only has 4.  Just think what they could have done with a fraction of that money, including starting their own breeding program now (instead of just hoping for one in the future).                                                                    
       Although you call Marius an "excess animal", he could have brought that wildlife park a big chunk of money that could have done a lot of good.  It might have been due to the wealthy donor's "emotionalism", but now that opportunity for a big donation to conservation has been lost. 
       In retrospect, it looks like this might turn out to be a case of being very penny-wise and pound foolish.   And if you take the emotionalism out of such philanthropy, much of that money just dries up and goes elsewhere (such as setting new records for the prices of artworks that often just disappear into private collections).                                                       ----------------Ken Kinman        
P.S. Meanwhile, the giraffe exhibit at Yorkshire Wildlife Park remains only 25 percent occupied.  What a waste of space, and Marius could have done a lot of good for conservation even if he was just an "excess animal" genetically.                                                       ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2014 16:34:02 -0700
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Killing of zoo giraffe to avoid inbreeding
> From: mivie at montana.edu
> To: kinman at hotmail.com
> CC: kim at kimvdlinde.com; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> 
> Ken,
> 
> If Yorkshire is a good zoo, and has room for another male giraffe, and the
> same for the Dutch one, they should use that space for a more genetically
> suitable specimen.  Room in good zoos is finite, this was not an
> individual that made good use of those limited resources.  Wanting to
> "save him" is simple emotionalism over good practice.  This was a
> definitional excess animal.  How much would it cost to ship a giraffe from
> Denmark to England?  Not $50, I am sure. This way, 200lbs of meat was not
> bought, and those transport Euros can be used more wisely.
> 
> This was not even a hard choice.
> 
> Mike
> 
> 
> > Hi Kim,
> >         Well, I agree with some of the points you made.  Hard choices have
> > to be made sometimes for the good of the species.  However, this
> > was not a case where Marius would have been taking a spot of
> > another (genetically more valuable) giraffe in a conservation
> > program.
> >        Yorkshire Wildlife Park offered to put him in their recently formed
> > bachelor group of giraffes.  He wouldn't have been breeding there,
> > and there is no reason to think they would sell him to a circus.  I
> > think this makes the Copenhagen conservationists look bad when they
> > ignore offers to give such a giraffe a new home:
> > "Yorkshire Wildlife Park said it was “saddened” to hear of his death,
> > expressing disappointment that its last minute offer to house Marius in
> > its “state-of-the-art giraffe house” alongside four other males, including
> > one from Copenhagen Zoo, had been ignored. A Dutch wildlife park had also
> > offered to re-home him."
> > -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >> Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2014 14:34:39 -0500
> >> From: kim at kimvdlinde.com
> >> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Killing of zoo giraffe to avoid inbreeding
> >>
> >> And let me add. Many zoos and sanctuaries for that matter have become
> >> warehouses of geriatric and surplus animals solely because the public
> >> cannot handle that we sometimes need to kill an exotic animal that is
> >> healthy. As a result, valuable breeding programs for endangered species
> >> are on hold because of it to the point that the only way to restart
> >> those programs once there is space again is to get fresh wild caught
> >> animals because there are no healthy reproducing animals left, or the
> >> few remaining are too related. In some species, prolonged suppression of
> >> the natural cycles to prevent breeding causes problems down the road
> >> such as infertility. Does this all sound absurd? Yes, it does, because
> >> at this moment, we have let out emotions (which is individual centered)
> >> overrule what is best for the species. If we are serious about zoos as a
> >> tool in conservation, we need to make the decision based on what is best
> >> for the species, and not emotions surrounding a single individual.
> >>
> >> Kim
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On 2/10/2014 1:21 PM, Ken Kinman wrote:
> >> > Dear All,       As you may have heard, a young giraffe at the
> >> Copenhagen Zoo was killed yesterday in order to avoid inbreeding.
> >> That despite offers from other zoos to rehome him.  Although I can
> >> understand the zoo's rationalization, I don't understand what harm
> >> would have come from shipping him off to another zoo if he would be a
> >> zoo display animal (not a breeder).
> >> >       Anyway, I guess this is common practice in zoos to avoid
> >> inbreeding in other mammals.  However, displaying the dead
> >> animal to a crowd (including children), much less reportedly
> >> cutting it up in front of said crowd, was probably very unwise.
> >> Especially a young giraffe.  But on the other hand, death
> >> threats against zoo officials certainly are not called for.  In
> >> any case, I suppose a civil debate is in order about just how
> >> strict a zoo's inbreeding protocol should be in such cases (as
> >> well as the displaying of such a dead animal in public).
> >> > http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/10/world/europe/denmark-zoo-giraffe/
> >>
> >>
> >> --------------------Ken Kinman
> >> > -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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> 
> -- 
> Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.
> Montana Entomology Collection
> Marsh Labs, Room 50
> NW corner of Lincoln and S.19th
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