Saturday, March 15, 2008

Animal welfare vs conservation

This is a environment conservationist's main question. Where do we draw the line between conservation and over-protection ?With increased human activities, the ecosystems of this world are rapidly deteriorating. This has also given rise to various conservation programs around the world trying to save this planet. In our zeal to preserve the environment, we sometimes also try to stop the natural forces of change that has been responsible for life in this planet. There is always a debate among the environmentalists on this.

One good case is the conservation effort of South Chinese tigers. There are very few tigers in the wild. There are few others that have been bred in captivity. Now they're making an effort to teach these captive tigers, the basics of hunting in the wild. For this, these tigers have been loose on a ranch and have been allowed to hunt blesbok, a kind of antelope. Now other conservationists have objected to this saying that this is cruel to the blesbok. They say that it is not acceptable they are deliberately made the hunted in a simulated environment.

Now what is right and what is wrong here?
  • Can the tigers be kept in captivity all through their lives? This will totally remove the tiger population from the wild. Or can we just release the tigers into the wild? They do not have the instinct to hunt as they're bred in captivity. So, they cannot survive and even if they do, they cannot pass on the hunting instincts to their offspring.
  • Is it right to introduce the blesbok into the controlled habitat of these tigers? They may not have some of the advantages that they have in the wild. So their chance of evading predator becomes slim.

There are some questions where there are no Black/white answers? There are only shades of Grey.


Shyam said...

ezhudi thalra pola irukku.... over vettiya ?? :P:P kalakku.... keep writing....

Venky said...

Absolutely right Vijay. The questions are perfect. It is not a great idea to breed every tiger, or for that matter elephant, in captivity. But when it comes to the fine line between survival and genetically restricted breeding, the world of conservationists has always taken the latter route. There is no direct yes or no to this. I strongly believe that you should treat this subject qualitatively in your blog. Raising questions is done all over the world... helps in getting people to thinking. Constructive suggestions, out of the box ideas...

thanks a lot for bringing this up man! you rock!