Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Endangered Species

Part 1 The Act

1. How many species were included when the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was put in place?
There were 14 mammals, 36 birds,6 reptiles and amphibians,22 fishes making a total of 78 species.

2.What are the steps for a species to be on the endangered list?
A species is added to the list when one or more of the following has been determine;.
1)The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range
2)Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes
3)Disease or predation
4)The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms
5)Other natural or manmade factors affecting its survival.

3. What are three general causes for endangerment of species?
a)Habitat destruction
b)Overexploitation
c)Disease and parasitism 

4.According to the Act, what happens once a species is listed as endangered?
Once a specie has been added to the list it becomes protected from everyone. Restrictions are made on being able to move, sell or transport that specie. Specific agencies have authority to plan and carry out recovery plans and purchase habitat. There goal is to protect the species natural diversity in the ecosystem. 


Part 2 Species


1. Choose a species......
Hawaiian Monk Seal also known in the binomial system as Neomonachus schauinslandi

2. Description of specie.....
The Hawaiian Monk Seal lives in Hawaii. Hawaiian monk seals are considered a "living fossil" because of their distinct evolutionary lineage. They live an average of 25-30 years. When a female seal gives birth she remains on land and fasts while nursing her pup for a month. After the month the female returns to the water abandoning the pup. These seals prey on fish and cephalopods and crustaceans. They are known to go more than 1,000 feet deep to prey on eels.

3. This is a photo of a mother with it's pup.


4. Cause of it's endangerment....
One cause of endangerment is a loss of pupping beaches due to erosion.

5. Organism's ecosystem role....
The Hawaiian Monk Seal is a keystone specie. This seal is one of three "true seal" species. The Caribbean Monk Seal is extinct now leaving only two "true seal" species alive today. As this seal has declined in numbers there have been more and more shark sightings and attacks closer to shore. These sharks are hungry and prey on seals. With the lack of seals the fish population is increasing which is partly why sharks are being seen more and are getting closer to the shore.

6. Scientific article for protecting the specie.....
Almost 700 different marine species, including the Hawaiian Seal, have been recorded to have encountered human-made debris. Researches have found evidence of 44,000 animals and organisms that have become tangled in or swallowed this debris. Nearly 80 percent of these cases resulted in direct harm or death. Plastic accounted for almost 92 percent of these cases. 

In July 2012 a team of 17 scientists spent almost a month collecting debris from the water. They collected almost 50 metrics (110,230 pounds). More than half of the debris was fishing gear and plastics. This debri was given to Hawaii's Net Energy Program who uses it to create electricity. Since 2002 more than 730 metric tons (1,609,358 pounds) have been used to create electricity. This has powered nearly 350 homes a year.

University of Plymouth. "Global impact of debris on marine life studied." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150219101643.htm>.

Part 3 Cost-benefit Analyses

My role is part of the defenders of Wildlife Lawyers

3. The school should not be built because;
a. The natural habitat will be altered.
b. New environment risks that may harm the owl.
c. A loss of prey. 

4. Groups preferred outcome....
Our groups preferred outcome would be to stop the school from being built. This is to protect the endangered animal. 

5. The conflict....
The conflict of this situation is having an existing school that is over populated. This school can no longer hold it's increasing number's. A new school is needed or an add-on. The students, parents, faculty and supporting neighbors only wish to better their kids education. Unfortunately it's hard to do with over crowding issues. The owl has been seen and heard near by. However, evidence of the owl on this exact property has not been proven. Having kids of my own I would probably side with having the school built. I will be selfish and want whats best for my kids immediate future.  

6. One obstacle for our group is proving that the owl does reside on this particular property. We know it's around. We've seen evidence of this in the surrounding areas of the proposed school. We need to prove that this owl lives and feeds off of this particular property. 

7. This endangered specie is known to be living in the surrounding area. There have been eyewitnesses that have both seen and heard this animal. Building the school will change it's natural habitat. Not only is the land changing but the increase of noise, litter and traffic caused after the school is built and is being used. The prey of this animal will also be uprooted and forced to move do to the construction of the school. The chances of this animal and it's prey becoming road kill increases. This endangered animal will be forced to find it's prey elsewhere in possible unknown territory.  

8. "I hear a hoot, this site is kaput"
This can mean that the owl is present than that's all that should matter. The owl is endangered and is therefore protected. It's hoot has been heard so move on and find a different area. This area is no longer available to human-change because it is providing a natural habitat to a known endangered specie.

9. "404 permit"
A 404 permit is asking permission to alter a water source such as a wash, a levee or a dam. It's to protect the existing water from being degraded. A 404 permit was required in this particular case because the plans were to alter a wash on the proposed property. 

10. Define the term "ecological sustainability."
This means that we are able to meet the needs of today while also doing what is needed to be able to meet our needs in the future. Using our resources wisely so that they will be available on a long term basis.  

11. Three places of science. Reliable?
a) Wildlife specialists and scientists have studied the owl. This is pretty reliable. These people have watched and recorded what they've learned about this owl. They know what the owl prey's on, where it prefers to live, and how it keeps itself alive from predators.  

b) Using neighbors testimonies of seeing and watching the birds is not reliable. These people are just making general observation's. They have not set out to "study" this owl in it's natural habitat.  

c)  It is known through study that this owl has a small home range. It is known that this owl habitats on both sides of this proposed property. What is not known is how the owl will react to the building of the school. Science can make an educated guess of how the owl will react but it is unknown. We don't know if the owl's nest will be chopped down or if it will be far enough from the school that it will remain where it's at. We don't know if a sufficient amount of prey will be uprooted forcing the owl to move on. Knowing about the small home range is reliable science but knowing what the owl will do is not reliable science. 

12. I do not think that the Endangered Act of 1973 should be revised to accommodate economic growth. In this particular instance the owl is known to be close to this particular area. It's been seen on both sides of the property. It's just common sense that the owl uses that part of the property also. However in defense of the school they also need to make a change to better themselves, our children and their education. It's my understanding that they bought the property before the endangered owl was known to be present. The fund that congress set up to buy up private property inside national parks should be used in cases like this or another fund created. Let the government buy this property to protect this specie. The school could be given sufficient money to buy land elsewhere to build their new school. Maybe there are other options the school could look into such as adding on to the current school or finding an already built property and making modification's to be used as a school.  I  believe that as of today we need to look into other options businesses and private owners have before revising this act. 

1 comment:

  1. You comment about wanting what is best for your or your family's immediate future is such a BIG conflict in many of these economic development and conservation issues...What is the answer??? You provided an excellent analysis of reliable vs unreliable science. You are a very good critical thinker.

    ReplyDelete