Eric Thorstenson (ethor@RAPIDNET.COM)
Wed, 10 Dec 1997 04:50:40 -0700
Gee, such a variety of fauna and so little time to study them all.
Apparently there is much discussion as to what qualifies a species as
extinct. And all this time, I thought it meant that there are no animals
of that species left alive. I do know that an animal doesn't have to be
seen by me (or by anyone I know) personally to have a living, breathing
colony exist somewhere in the wild.
I have never seen a black-footed ferret in the wild even though a
colony was discovered in my home state of South Dakota (USA) in 1964.
>From 1964 to 1979, I never heard any reports of another colony of
black-footed ferrets anywhere else in the world. The last surviving
member of that colony died in 1979. So, I believed the black-footed
ferret to have become extinct. Then a black-footed ferret surfaced in
northwestern Wyoming two years later. Now they've been reintroduced in
Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
I don't know if the reports in Australia of a surviving Tasmanian Wolf
are valid. But, I believe that you can't just disregard them out of hand
either. The thought of such an exotic animal as the Tasmanian Wolf still
surviving in the wild is exciting. Besides, we need to preserve habitat
whenever possible. If "unsubstantiated" sightings of an extinct species
results in developers treading just a little lighter on the environment,
than no one is really worse off.
As far as the bettong, for which I've received a proverbial beating in
the last couple of days, I've learned more in the past 48 hours than I
ever thought I wanted to know. Let's get specific. The variety of
bettong that I referred to in my last post no longer belongs to the
Macropodidae family (kangaroos and wallabies), although it did at one
time. Figure that out, folks. Although the Macropodidae family does
contain bettong varieties, the extinct bettong I referred to earlier,
belongs instead to another subspecies of the Order of Diprotodontia
called Potoroidae (rat kangaroos). The specific information is as
Original name: Bettongia campestris
Scientific name: Caloprymnus campestris
Common name: Desert Rat-kangaroo
So, maybe we need to establish exactly what criteria we use to submit a
species to the list. When we are all on the same page, maybe we can be a
little less destructive and actually accomplish something.
My contention is that this animal is extinct and should be on the list,
but I'm sure somewhere, someone on Scouts-L will want to refute that
statement, so flame away. I've got my fire suit on.
Eric Thorstenson mailto:email@example.com
Co-Asst Webelos Den Leader/Pack 53 Webmaster
Black Hills Area Council - Rapid City SD
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City