Saturday, November 14, 2009

Petaluma, CA at it AGAIN!

This story is not cat related, but in a place where cats and birds caused a large debate is now hearing another type of animal debate – frogs. Animal activists are now expressing concern for a proposed plan by wildlife conservationists to remove bullfrogs from a local sewer plant pond to protect the native California Red-legged Frog.

(Picture: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
The California Red-legged Frog)

According to, “Margaret Orr, the project manager for the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility, said the city’s permits from federal and state agencies require that the Red-legged Frog be protected. That means taking steps to control the competing bullfrog population, draining the ponds and using nets to scoop up egg masses and tadpoles, she told the council. ‘It’s a pretty massive infestation if it’s allowed to take off,’ Orr said of the bullfrogs. ‘What we’re doing is breaking the reproductive cycle by getting the tadpoles out.’”

City residents believe there are better ways to spend tax-payer money than to kill animals. “We do not want to pay to have animals killed,” Diane Reilly Torres wrote in an e-mail to city officials before last week’s meeting. It is estimated to cost $9,500 for two days and nights of work by biologists to control the bullfrog population at this particular site.

Again, says, “The city’s consulting biologist, Jim O’Toole of the firm ESA, said failure to remove the bullfrogs and their eggs would be a violation of the Endangered Species Act and could result in a fine or possible shutdown of the sewer plant.”

After reading an article on trapping and killing cats to save squirrels, I asked this question and I will ask it again…why are humans so obsessed with managing the natural world?

As the Rev. Professor Andrew Linzey of University of Oxford, England puts it “In the name of biodiversity, these ‘managers’ regularly kill one form of life in order to ‘allow’ another to survive…perhaps populations rise and crash as a matter of course…we seem to have forgotten…that it is a self-regulating system. [And] in the end, everything depends upon our own moral vision of ourselves in the world of nature. I believe that we should be not the master species, but the servant species. That means as little interference as possible, and only then with genuinely benign intentions. Biodiversity is a classic tale of how an idealized view of the world can result in individual harm.”

In protecting a particular species, we need to be sensitive to other species within the ecosystem that may be affected either directly or indirectly. We should not be acting as Professor Linzey put as the “master species” but rather as the “servant species.” We should not be deciding who lives and who dies; instead, we should be implementing practices that ensure the survival of all species. ACR understands that this is easier said than done, for ecosystems are highly complex and sensitive to outside disturbance, but we also believe that whether it is the cat versus bird debate or the bullfrog versus California Red-legged Frog debate, somewhere there lies great promise in finding the middle ground, where NO species needs to be sacrificed for another.

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