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ESAblawg is an educational effort by Keith W. Rizzardi. Correspondence with this site does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Photos or links may be copyrighted (but used with permission, or as fair use). ESA blawg is published with a Creative Commons License.

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florida gators... never threatened!

If you ain't a Gator, you should be! Alligators (and endangered crocs) are important indicator species atop their food chains, with sensitivity to pollution and pesticides akin to humans. See ESA blawg. Gator blood could be our pharmaceutical future, too. See ESA musing.

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Follow the truth.

"This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Roscoe, December 27, 1820.

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Thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN S. PETTITT helped found this blawg. A D.C.-based IT consultant specializing in Lotus Notes & Domino, he also maintains Lotus Guru blog.

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Ferrets vaccinated for the plague: a happy story raises tough questions

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"Endangered black-footed ferrets, like children, aren't exactly lining up to be stuck with a vaccine, but in an effort to help control an extensive outbreak of plague in South Dakota, some of the ferrets are getting dosed with a vaccine given by biologists..." It was a catchy opening to today's press release by the U.S. Geological Survey, and the press release contains a happy "human-interest" story.  Sadly, however, ferrets are not alone in the animal kingdom in the need for such intervention, and few animals receive such special treatment.  For example, a recent issue of Conservation magazine reported on how Tasmanian Devils are being wiped out by an aggressive form of cancer.  So, the inequities and unfairness of nature aside, lawyers and policy makers must wrestle with the difficult questions.  For example, any such intervention, even for enhancement of survival of a species, requires a permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act.  And the regulatory agencies, FWS and NOAA, must put appropriate conditions on those permits.  But that's the easy part, because there are deeper questions too.  How much money should we spend on any one species, and how do we best set our priorities on how money is being spent, and whether it is spent on the most worthy species?  What criteria do we use in selecting the worthy species?  (See Pennsylvania's effort.)  And, perhaps most importantly, in some of these cases, should we humans be letting nature take its course, even if it means extinction of a species?  

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Photo of ferret receiving vaccine, by USGS