You heard Andrew Wyatt of USARK yesterday on NPR and he did a great job. Thanks Andrew for all of your efforts. I view this as another major step for the reptile industry, making it on to a national forum, The Diane Rehm Show. Diane wasn't there because she had to attend a funeral, and that was unfortunate. Diane is an extremely thoughtful person. I believe had she been there to moderate the program, she would clearly have understood and helped to present the position of the importance of how animals are integrated into our society today, as well as the importance of supporting wildlife conservation by maintaining viable ancillary captive populations in the United States or anywhere in the world.
There is no doubt that Diane would very much be aware of captive programs that have resulted in the reintroductions of a myriad of species world-wide, such as California Condors or Giant Pandas or endangered island iguana species.
Of course listeners can discern facts from personal opinion and this particular program really illustrated that the reptile industry has an agenda that maintains as many species of reptiles as possible in self sustaining captive populations and promotes science, education, animal welfare, with the desire to conserve native as well as non native biodiversity. It promotes finding solutions to help solve difficult problems involving issues such as regulation, invasive species, biodiversity preservation in native and non native populations.
This past week the reptile industry was really given validation of its contribution to the U.S. economy when DOI Secretary Salazar proclaimed that DOI by listing the four species and not the nine as "injurious" did "not suffocate commerce by over-regulation."
All in all I think major progress. The industry has made a huge contribution of technical skills of maintaining hundreds of species for the first time in captivity and reproducing them to the point of only selectively needing to remove animals from the wild. All of this information has been clearly published in thousands of articles, books, and transmitted in educational programs throughout the country over the last two decades. It demonstrates the strong foundation that the industry has. These actions reflect innovation, contribution to knowledge, education, and preservation of biodiversity.
Will the American public continue to give money and support to special interest groups that their contribution and position is the opinion "I don't like what you do and you should stop it."?
I don't think so.
I see two trains going in opposite directions.
One is a train with people and animals representing as much of the Earth's biodiversity as possible, hoping to head to a world where innovation can contribute to their survival in the future. A world where future generations will have the the information and skills to maintain the earth's biodiversity.
That's the train I'm getting on.
The other train is with a lot of people and no animals.
Which train are you getting on?
It’s time for Americans and the world to answer that question.