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Thread: Pygmy Elephant

  1. #1 Pygmy Elephant 
    Forum Freshman RathDinen's Avatar
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    Good day everyone :-D

    Just wanna open for a discussion about will you conserve exotic animal?
    I went camping in Kinabatangan River, somewhere in Borneo where pygmy elephant can be found...the elephant is actually not native means that it might be brought in during 16th-18th centuries to help carrying timber out of the forest...When technologies came in, people use trucks and lorries to do the job and then left the elephant to survive on their own in the forest. Todays, the forest were cut down and people use the land for oil palm plantation. Because of expanding human development, the elephant is now endangered with not more than 1000 elephants left in Borneo. So, the WWF decided to conserve the pygmy elephant.

    In my opinion, exotic animal shouldnt be conserve in habitat that is not native to them because they cause competition for food and space to live...what do you think?


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    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    I feel that it depends on how integrated into that ecosystem the species has become. If it's been present for a long time then other species in the area may have adapted to some extent around it, and removing it could have negative consequences. I'd say this is not always the case, but in some situations may be. However if the species was introduced relatively recently it may be fine to just eliminate it.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    I would say it depends on the status of the species as whole - if this forest in Borneo is the last stand of the species, as it were, and there are few other areas with habitat suitable to support them, then of course they ought to be preserved. Even if that were not the case, I think the only reason to remove an otherwise endangered animal from a certain habitat is if they are actively damaging to other threatened species. Is there any evidence to suggest that this is happening?
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    I disagree with you paralith. I think that unless it is a keystone species, such as Pisaster, you really have no business preventing extinction. I think that if the animal is so specialized that it is restricted to one environment and simply isn't competative elsewhere, or is unable to adapt, it really doesn't have much business being extant for very long. Specialization is the bane of animalkind, it's inevitable that environments change and it's inevitable that species will die out because of it. Intervening will, in most cases, be futile at best.

    This of course doesn't count for overhunting, where people really need to fuck right off in the first place.

    As for the case of exotic species that have taken hold; If the species is firmly intact, like rodents and lagomorphs in Australia or starlings in North America, they should be left as is. Just because they are outcompeting animals doesn't mean they should be rid of. However, in this specific case: Let them die out. They are nothing more than an evolutionary curiousity at this point. They obviously aren't doing well in their habitat and will likely continue to have issues.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Your points are all very valid, and in some ways I share your views about extinction - these types of events have been happening all throughout the evolution of life and even those caused by humans today could arguably be no different than, say, when we simply outcompeted neanderthals (if that's what really happened, of course, but you get my point).

    As a human who simply has a great appreciation for animals, emotionally I dislike the idea of their extinction. But this is not a very valid argument when it comes to policy.

    As a scientist, I am all about the preservation of data. I can say with certainty that we have not learned everything we could possibly learn from endangered species, and the longer we can preserve them in a natural state (which is more informative for studies on evolution than in a recently altered state), the more time we have to gain that knowledge which will otherwise be lost to us. After all, why are we sequencing the neanderthal genome, and why are some even contemplating cloning a neanderthal? Because we feel bad that we are the likely primary cause for their extinction? No. Because there is so much more we can learn from a living breathing animal than we can from specimens many thousands of years dead.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Agreeing with you on that Paralith. I would suggest that we preserve hard evidences like osteology and sweeping observations about behaviour, or oddities therein, in an effort to better catalog what we can of what is dying out instead of just trying to let them live.

    You do understand, I'm really sure you do, that by intervening with animals dying out we are destroying information as well. So we are damned if we do, damned if we don't; so lets haul ass and get what we can rather than trying to save pygmy elephants.

    Edit: Of course an equally logical arguement could be to let info about how animals go extinct be destroyed and let the elephants live
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Agreeing with you on that Paralith. I would suggest that we preserve hard evidences like osteology and sweeping observations about behaviour, or oddities therein, in an effort to better catalog what we can of what is dying out instead of just trying to let them live.

    You do understand, I'm really sure you do, that by intervening with animals dying out we are destroying information as well. So we are damned if we do, damned if we don't; so lets haul ass and get what we can rather than trying to save pygmy elephants.
    Of course - anything that happens could be considered "more information." But it is very important for studies of evolution to understand the way an animal functions within the environment that it evolved in, or at least as close to it as is currently possible. In these cases the environmental conditions are just as important as the animals themselves.

    And forgive me for saying so, but "sweeping observations about behavior" are simply unacceptable, or at the very least by no means sufficient. Many animals have incredibly complex lives and sweeping observations will not even begin to contribute to a full understanding of those lives. You can observe a given primate group continuously for three years and still not observe their complete repertoire of capabilities and behaviors. It took years and years of habituating chimpanzee groups to human presence before the behavior of hunting monkeys was ever observed, and now we know that some groups in fact hunt quite regularly. It used to be thought that bonobos never hunted, as bonobo groups have not been studied for as long as chimpanzee groups have - and just recently the very first recorded examples of bonobo hunting were published.

    Behavior is what is interesting to me, and I cannot presume to know what is interesting and therefore important to know for people who specialize in other fields - all I know is that the longer these species exist in our world the more we will learn from them, and so preserving them is a necessary component of studying them.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    I have split the less on-topic replies into a new thread where they can be discussed in more detail without distracting from the OP.
    /moderator mode
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    I disagree with you paralith. I think that unless it is a keystone species, such as Pisaster, you really have no business preventing extinction. I think that if the animal is so specialized that it is restricted to one environment and simply isn't competative elsewhere, or is unable to adapt, it really doesn't have much business being extant for very long. Specialization is the bane of animalkind, it's inevitable that environments change and it's inevitable that species will die out because of it. Intervening will, in most cases, be futile at best.
    But what about species - the majority of large species in the world - that are "uncompetitive" because they are not good human commensals?

    Most of the pressure on species is not the 'normal' everyday environmental one, but the increasing pressure of human presence in all areas. Would you not say there is an argument for us trying to, by finding pockets of preservation, not complete the damage we have started?
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  11. #10  
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    I can barely believe what I'm reading.

    Let evolution take its course, let them die out?

    Umm!... Their habitat is being destroyed post haste by the creation of Palm oil plantations.

    For god's sake people, Palm oil is the cheap and very unhealthy oil that is used to cook billions of potato chips. Keep our kids fat and wipe out the last remaining vestiges of their superb habitat. You've got to be joking.

    I have seen the tropical rainforests of S.E asia first hand ( and countless miles of palm oil plantations) The rainforests of Malaysia, Borneo , Java are ancient and brilliant. Palm oil plantations are an extremely shallow visioned monoculture and an international travesty.

    Not only is the remarkable Orang utan clinging to existance but the pygmy elephant ( and these just happen to be flagship species from this area, countless other species will be as reliant on this habitat too).

    Whether or not the pygmy elephant was introduced ( if it was it was from neighbouring Java anyway and certainly not a pest species) is immaterial, the poor bloody things are under serious threat from the scourge that is palm oil.

    Wake up guys.

    BTW, my first post, nice to meetcha.
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  12. #11  
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    I don't want to feed political debate here, but some context is needed:

    The exploding demand for palm oil has nothing to do with potato chips. It's biofuel. Biodiesel, specifically, of which China is the major consumer. That would-be plantation was financed by a Chinese bank. It was to employ hundreds of thousands with a good share of profit and empowerment going to the locals as is typical in that industry.

    I dug deep into his one and it's messy. Political. In a nutshell, three Big Oil multinationals ..er, charitably sponsored... an environmentalist group I will not name, to pretext heavyweight diplomatic/trade pressure against further development of biofuel, by Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. These countries agreed to plant no more palm, and drilling operations will continue, business as usual. I declined to post this earlier, rather hoping for an a-political discussion.

    I'm no great fan of biofuel, but I wouldn't call it a scourge. And I wouldn't turn on those developing economies with "do as I say, not as I did."



    The pygmy elephants have lived on many islands. We've been hunting them to extinction for thousands of years.

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  13. #12  
    Forum Freshman RathDinen's Avatar
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    What if u have to choose between biofuel or petrol? to think the other way, the palm oil provide renewable source for fuel and to my knowledge, the biofuel give less polution compared to the petrol...petrol is not renewable source and contribute to so much pollution...so, basicly it's the same.....

    I agree that lots of forest were cut down for oil palm plantation...and the countries such as Malaysia n Indonesia have to give out the forests in order to provide their people some jobs thus enhance their economy....They have to pick either to be rich in biodiversity or to keep the economy in line with other developing countries...


    so, what they can do is to have a good management of forest so they didn't lose so much....is it?
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior

    But what about species - the majority of large species in the world - that are "uncompetitive" because they are not good human commensals?

    Most of the pressure on species is not the 'normal' everyday environmental one, but the increasing pressure of human presence in all areas. Would you not say there is an argument for us trying to, by finding pockets of preservation, not complete the damage we have started?
    Pressure is pressue and it's a selection factor for extinction and evolution. Would you want to prevent the species that are evolving from the same pressure from evolving? Other than a novelty, what possible use could there be for a dying species in a changing environment?
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