Originally Posted by Soothing Shrimp
If I keep a species in my tank, that is only one person. If a number of people keep them, then the survival is more assured. Therefore, in my opinion, a critter has to be aesthetically pleasing (as well as breeding for a purpose) to ensure hobbyists will continue efforts to breed.
You hit on 2 vital points there Soothing. The first is that, as itís always been in the history of humanity and will be in our future with conservation, there are very few people out there willing to work with something unless there is perceived value; either the critter is attractive, makes money, tastes good, does labor, etc. Few are the people who want to do it just to do it, which is why your original post interested me. But there are a few such weirdos out there, thank goodness! Your other point about individuals and collaboration is important too. Without that greater group coordinating efforts and pushing towards conservation and reintroduction (if warranted) in the field, you'd be just a guy with some critters in a tank in his basement. Thatís why coordinating bodies such as the American Livebearers Association are so important to the individual hobbyist. Itís not unheard of to have private individuals play key roles in coordinated conservation programs (Turtle Survival Alliance is another example that comes to mind), but I would agree with Veneer that it is certainly not common. Itís unfortunate because more often than not the hobbyists have the husbandry expertise and the government/authorities have the resources (or not) and access to the animals. But it sure is beautiful when it all comes together.
Speaking as a "professional", I guess, who's coming from the other side of things (molecular phylogeny of Macrobrachium), I'd have to agree.
Ah! Great to have you here. My background is in academia, but I've been working in applied conservation for the past 15 years. I currently coordinate various groups working on captive conservation of another overlooked taxon (amphibians), mostly zoos and aquaria but some universities, museums, gov agencies, and hobbyists as well. I am all too familiar with the shortcomings of Ďprofessionalí conservation programs. Iíve also been lucky to have been involved in several programs that prevented extinctions.
Anything that's not an easily anthropomorphized and photogenic big mammal has problems generating any conservation interest above nil, so I do consider it fortunate that so many freshwater shrimp have captured hobbyists' fancy.
Amen. You shrimp people probably consider us Ďphotogenic frogí people lucky, but we both drool and curse when looking at panda budgets! Did you know US zoos pay $1 million per year to rent each panda from China? And that does not include food (unlimited bamboo), lodging/utilities, keepers, vets, etc. And itís not clear to me how the exhibits or the cash are actually saving animals in the wild. Let's say there are a dozen pandas over here currently, so $12 million per year...how many shrimp could you save with that?