The Great Egret

March 03, 2012  •  1 Comment

Egrets in late afternoon light

I am presenting this first image as an example of the beauty of the Great Egret.  It's hard to imagine that in the 1800's these beautiful creatures were shot nearly to extinction in Florida.  This travesty was in the name of beauty for high fashion women of that period.  The highly sought after feathers of the Great Egret were used to decorate hats!  Not only were birds shot for feathers, but orphaned chicks were left to die from malnutrition and predation after their parents were killed.  (I tend to use "shot" and "killed" instead of euphemisms such as "taken" and "removed".)  Birds were not the only victims. In 1905, Guy Bradley an Audubon warden assigned to the area was shot and killed by poachers in the Everglades area.  Two other wardens were killed by plume hunters before legal steps were taken in New York to ban hats decorated with plumes.  Bradley's death helped to bring about these changes.  In 1935 The Everglades National Park was founded (without funding). Today these beautiful birds can be found in abundance, although development and climate change represent a serious threat for their future. Talking points: 1) Does vanity justify the killing of wildlife?  2) Does it take violence toward humans who are protecting wildlife to change our understanding of the value of wildlife and motivate us to protect wildlife through the strengthening and implementation of laws?  I encourage everyone to present their thoughts on these "talking points".  All comments are welcome, whether related to the "talking points" or not.


Comments

1.Al Eckerdt(non-registered)
Talking points:
1) Does vanity justify the killing of wildlife? No
No disagreement on this point but what then does justify killing of wildlife? At one extreme is vanity but at the other extreme may be survival - obviously not an issue in our country but where do we draw the line. What do we (humans) do if a species becomes over-populated, negatively impacting its own environment and other wildlife around it?

2) Does it take violence toward humans who are protecting wildlife to change our understanding of the value of wildlife and motivate us to protect wildlife through the strengthening and implementation of laws? No

There should not be violence of any kind to change our understanding of the value of wildlife. However, violence will likely occur if the wildlife is part of an economic stream, i.e. if money can be made through the killings. So perhaps a combination of things can defuse violence.
Education? Maybe but only for those with a conscience. Probably not viable for eliminating violence or preventing wildlife from being killed.
Eliminate the demand! Stop the economic cycle through making ownership of 'decorative hats' (or any other similar item, such as ivory) illegal or socially unacceptable to own. Lots of examples of this approach as a successful deterent to animal abuse exist in our world today.

Other thoughts?
No comments posted.
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