[split] Wild caught or Captive bred?

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Tom

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Note from mod Yvonne: One of our members wondered what tortoise to buy and the thread turned into a debate on wild caught or captive bred, so I've split off the debate into this thread.








johanna said:
Get the redfoots for ethical reasons. I would never recommend supporting people who make money off taking animals out of the wild and depleting the wild populations. If you want a pancake get one from a reputable breeder. They will be healthier and happier.
On a side note, Pancakes hide a lot. Sometimes mine hide for days. If you want an animal who is social and interactive, a pancake will bore you. I dont know much about redfoots.

I never understand this when the very same people who say this have tortoises that are direct defendants of wild caught ones, or wild caught themselves, thereby financially rewarding the people who are responsible for removing the from the wild in the first place.

All captive breeding populations have to be started from wild caught tortoises at some point, so everyone who owns a tortoise is equally responsible for that species being removed from the wild. There is nothing wrong with taking a small percentage of wild individuals to fill the need for captive breeders.

In the case of pancakes, removal from the wild and importation has been spotty for the last few years, so I hardly think they are being "depleted". Sure it can be over done, but I'd venture a guess that neither of us really know the state of wild pancakes right now.
 

wellington

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RE: Should I or shouldn't I

I get what Tom is saying. However, when an animal or reptile is able to be CB then that is what I think should be bought. If there is no need to take from the wild. Then I don't think they should be. If there is a need, then that's when I feel it is okay. My opinion, go with the Redfoots. Whatever you decide is of course up to you. But, you must show us pics when you get it:D
 

johanna

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RE: Should I or shouldn't I

Obviously everything came from the wild originally, but captive bred animals are available, so why wouldn't someone purchase captive bred? I said that I would not recommend purchasing wild caught, but I did not tell anyone they cannot do it, just that I would not. No need to lecture or get defensive over my personal opinion.
 

Tom

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RE: Should I or shouldn't I

mrlax said:
However, this said, I think there are a lot more health considerations/intangibles/unknowns with wild-caught reptiles which need to be considered and are difficult to assess. This is not a comment/criticism about your contact, just a very general thing to think about.

I completely agree with this. Very true.
 

Cowboy_Ken

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RE: Should I or shouldn't I

Here's my 2¢ concerning w/c vs. cbb;
One of my “other" hobbies is bonsai. I'm in Oregon and our forests offer many opportunities for collecting “real" trees,(yamadori). The hard part for me in doing this is if the same plant can be purchased at a nursery, I feel the wild tree should be allowed to complete its life where it is as a reward for surviving the odds. This practice of yamadori is now outlawed in Japan in that the trees are seen as a national treasure that needs protection. Some areas have been cleaned out by collecting. This happened over 100's of years not just one human lifetime.
Potentially, this could also happen in the reptile world. Remember Lonely George had parents and siblings yet died alone.
 

Masin

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RE: Should I or shouldn't I

Cowboy_Ken said:
Here's my 2¢ concerning w/c vs. cbb;
One of my “other" hobbies is bonsai. I'm in Oregon and our forests offer many opportunities for collecting “real" trees,(yamadori). The hard part for me in doing this is if the same plant can be purchased at a nursery, I feel the wild tree should be allowed to complete its life where it is as a reward for surviving the odds. This practice of yamadori is now outlawed in Japan in that the trees are seen as a national treasure that needs protection. Some areas have been cleaned out by collecting. This happened over 100's of years not just one human lifetime.
Potentially, this could also happen in the reptile world. Remember Lonely George had parents and siblings yet died alone.

I love this read.
 

jp07

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RE: Should I or shouldn't I

I find the arguments that owning any reptile means you contribute to its decline to be quite idiotic. Before anyone starts, I do not currently own any tortoises, I have rescued in the past but I am a biologist having worked in African conservation for a number of years including chelonians and pancakes in the Serengeti NP.

Most of our chelonians are threatened. In most of the terrestrial cases it is the pet trade which is causing population decline, either exclusively or in conjunction with other threats.

The demand for these animals as pets will never go away, I am an in situ biologist conservationist but I am part of that demand, I have no moral argument against animals in captivity. However when that captivity is at the expense of wild populations this is different. The pancake is currently listed as vulnerable and declining due in part to habitat encroachment but primarily harvesting for the international pet trade.

To fuel increasing demand from declining wild populations will result in species extinctions. Yes captive populations stem from originally wild caught animals but we are now in a position whereby to have these animals they do not have to be wild caught. Indeed a strong, well managed captive bred population may well have in important part to play in the long term survival of wild populations by alleviating the pressure on those populations and forming a pool of important genetic diversity.

When the founders of the captive bred populations were caught, even if relatively recently (1 or 2 generations), the populations were in a better state and there were more populations.

Buying wild caught animals contributes to the decline of a species, buying captive bred supports a population which does not.
 

RedfootsRule

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It seems like theres a pretty simple, undeniable answer to this...If you have the option to purchase captive bred or wild-caught, get captive-bred. (1) Captive bred are healthier, usually. (2) Purchasing wild-caught tortoises just increases and supports the business, thus depleting wild populations of tortoises that are probably already in endangerment. However, it is true that originally, a few wild-caught specimens need to be taken as founders for future captive-bred generations.
I don't think this should apply, however, to already very-rare species that have not been able to be bred by even the most experienced tortoise biologists/hobbyists. The only thing that should be done with these species is defending their habitats/protecting them in the wild.

In short, I couldn't agree with jp07 more.
 

FLINTUS

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I agree with RedFootsRule mainly on this. Personally, with species such as Hermann's, Red Foots, Sulcatas, Leopards, Horsfields e.t.c, basically the common species, always buy CB. Sometimes it is necessary to take WC specimens, e.g. rare species like Tent Tortoises breeding programmes, but IMO you shouldn't be taking WC specimens unless you are very experienced as they will likely die within a few years.
 

Yvonne G

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I'm in a totally different place than most of you. Many years ago I went to SoCal and purchased some Russian tortoises from a wholesaler, but haven't purchased tortoises for a very long time. When people find out you are into tortoises, if you wait long enough, they just seem to come to you. Of course, you can't pick and choose...you have to take what they bring you, but I've gotten quite a nice variety of different tortoises during the years. Most of them get adopted out, but I've kept a few. I'm sure some of them, probably most of them were wild caught.

I doubt we're ever going to be able to stop the collecting of wild turtles and tortoises. As long as there's a market, they'll keep collecting.

If you have a choice between a wc or cb, choose the cb, however if you want a tortoise and wc is all there is available, get it.
 

african cake queen

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i think the biggist problem facing the pancake in loss of habitat.people ruining the land there.
 

StudentoftheReptile

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emysemys said:
I'm in a totally different place than most of you. Many years ago I went to SoCal and purchased some Russian tortoises from a wholesaler, but haven't purchased tortoises for a very long time. When people find out you are into tortoises, if you wait long enough, they just seem to come to you. Of course, you can't pick and choose...you have to take what they bring you, but I've gotten quite a nice variety of different tortoises during the years. Most of them get adopted out, but I've kept a few. I'm sure some of them, probably most of them were wild caught.

LOL, I'm a little in the same boat, Yvonne. Its reptiles in general for me and some of my friends. Sometimes people just leave things at our doorstep!
 

yagyujubei

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If the country of origin allows collection and exportation, I think it is very foolish indeed not to take an opportunity to get new blood lines into the US. Sooner or later, this won't be possible. Personally, I would buy wild caught S. African leopards. I don't think it will be too long before all of them in the US are related. How inbred are the current populations? Who knows - no one keeps proper records and pedigrees. I used to breed purebred cats, and had pedigrees that went back seven or eight generations back to the original imports. If you're a breeder and satisfied that the genetic diversity is sufficient, by CB. What impact does an inbred population have on hatchling health? Were the parents of your new CB baby brother and sister? Who knows.
 

Jacqui

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For myself, I would rather buy a WC. My reasons are this:

A) At the point of capture are the harvesting folks doing this to support their families and if not selling to the pet trade, will it be going into the cooking pot? Is there a viable habitat being left for these animals and are other predators on an even level or have things changed in the environment to where this group of animals will not be able to survive? For instance, here in the USA are we putting a large housing development with stores on their nesting/housing site? Or once more in the USA, is this an area where coyotes and crows are in too large of numbers and are doing a heavier harvest on hatchlings then nature intended.

B) Now the animal is already removed from it's habitat and can no longer go back there... should that animal be made an example of and just left to die al in the name of the cause of "they will just replace it with another one"? To me, it's like somebody going out and blowing money they have in hand on fun things, not life necessities, hoping they MIGHT win the powerball and have money to spend then to keep the lights and heat on and a roof over their heads. I tend to worry about the animal that is there and in the here and now. Is that animal any less important? Are it's genes any less needed?

C) This is my personal wants and needs level. I prefer WC, because they are less expensive. If WC and CB cost the same that would be one thing, but they are not. I have not had to spend huge amounts of money on these so called sick animals that WC are claimed to be. I have also saw CB that have been very sick and have died as a result. I like adults and really do not care for raising hatchlings. Most often hatchlings are the only CB your going to find. I like seeing and knowing what I am getting, not waiting years to find out that group of Stars I bought as hatchlings and spent years raising are all males, so I am back almost to square one at getting a breeding group going. I like knowing my stock is much more diverse gene wise, then they would be buying captive from the few breeders out there. For instance with my Bells, there are only a couple of breeders selling CB Bells. I have some from both, why buy more from the same gene pool when I can bring in a WC with a whole new set to work with?

I think you need to take each case on it's own merit. Look at what your wanting in the end, what your comfortable working with, and what you have to choose from. Both buying CB and WC have their points and their times when each are the best choice to go with.
 

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To the points made by yagyujubei, I do agree regarding diversifying bloodlines. For reasons I have gone into before, I am not especially concerned regarding inbreeding in and of itself (and it is sometimes my intention to achieve such), but I do try to outcross or combine diverse bloodlines when possible as a matter of general practice.

I also like the three main tenets of Jacqui's post.

As for me, I select interesting animals. That is whether they are WC or CB. My preference is to go CB if I have the option, but I have no problem going WC if CB equivalents to what I am seeking are not available.
 

RedfootsRule

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Most here with the opinion of WC over CB seem to look at it that its more important to us to have WC. Suits our uses better. Sure, I've seen many, many BEAUTIFUL WC adult breeder red foots for sale; new bloodline, could make some highly-priced, equally beautiful hatchlings. An example of an animal I'd like to add to my herd. They're certainly cheaper.

But hold on. When did OUR personal uses become more important then the species? When did it happen that tortoises should be taken from the wild for us to use and exploit to fit our own needs, not giving a second though about their plight in the wild? Its this train of thought that has and WILL lead to the demise of species. And IMHO it has to stop...

It is hard though, because yes, by the time you buy it it has already been removed from the wild. Its not going back there. And you think about the poor tortoise, likely in poor conditions, and leaving it doomed to death. That, I don't know what to say about, because its horrible. But buying them is like throwing gasoline on the fire of the capture and importation of the tortoises. In other words; if we don't buy them, they won't keep capturing them...

The best thing to do is to take a harsher stance on habitat destruction. Protect them where they stand, not buy WC and say "there won't be anything left for them anyways." Because soon, there won't be. There will be no tortoises in the wild. Sure, we will have captive, but they will just be a sad reminder of what happened. I picture future generations saying "how could they let this happen?"

But as Jacqui said, each case has to be taken as its own. For some species, we do need a number in captivity for breeding programs; as assurance that if the unspeakable happens in the wild, they WILL still exist.
 

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Jacqui also raises a point....you may also want to determine what your role in the reptiles life is going to be; meaning, are you a person that is a collector for pleasure? are you a person that plays the role in rehab and relocate to a permanent home? are you a person that will play the role of a way station for the permanently displaced torts that can no longer roam their given land due to removal or injury?

In my own individual opinion, if you are a collector then you really are going to run into a load of opposition either way you go...captives of course once upon a time are derived from a free and wild tort, we all know that ;) and captive vs wild will always be a personal choice based on your thoughts and beliefs....hence why there is always ongoing issues with this very topic...as with a million other topics that involve freedom vs restraint....just our human nature trigger I suppose....

I am a person that finds my role as a way station moreover than any other ....this is in a variety of critters-- that I do not "own" but rather am a part of their day....

I personally would rather a moment of true freedom than a lifetime of rules---others opinions forced on by the "majority", whoever that actually is?---a lifetime of force and restraint....but as the tortoise must do as a captive--as many other creatures do, I will endure and carry on in this time of selfishness....I know what my heart is and have faith that one day we will each be blessed with truly knowing and tasting freedom in all of her intended Glory....again, not laying judgement on another, as I am not qualified to do that, but just sharing on this topic :D
 

Jacqui

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RedfootsRule said:
But hold on. When did OUR personal uses become more important then the species? When did it happen that tortoises should be taken from the wild for us to use and exploit to fit our own needs, not giving a second though about their plight in the wild? Its this train of thought that has and WILL lead to the demise of species. And IMHO it has to stop...

It is hard though, because yes, by the time you buy it it has already been removed from the wild. Its not going back there. And you think about the poor tortoise, likely in poor conditions, and leaving it doomed to death. That, I don't know what to say about, because its horrible. But buying them is like throwing gasoline on the fire of the capture and importation of the tortoises. In other words; if we don't buy them, they won't keep capturing them...

The best thing to do is to take a harsher stance on habitat destruction. Protect them where they stand, not buy WC and say "there won't be anything left for them anyways." Because soon, there won't be.

For me, I want to be part of saving the hingebacks especially from going extinct. To me that means my "personal uses" as you called them are not "more important" then the species, but my personal uses are the species and it's survival. I would rather see them in captivity, then have them not be either in captivity or left in the wild. I can not do anything for them in the wild. Nor do I think I have the right to tell folks in another country how they must conserve them. What I can do, is save the WC already captured and in the trade. I can help spread information on how to keep these animals alive and give tomorrow's children the chance to see a hingeback in real life, not just pictures. If we don't buy them, never fear they will keep capturing them, but to be filling the stew pots of the world.

I am sorry, but also I do not see a world left for them and other tortoise species in their native wild habitat. The world has changed and this time I do not think they can adapt fast enough for those changes. I don't even have to leave my own country to see this happening. There is a stretch of highway in Colorado, which after any nice rain when I travel the road I see an average of four box turtles every mile. Four DEAD box turtles. How long do you think that areas group of box turtles can sustain itself with that heavy of a loss? Where I live, the 15 mile trip into town use to net me seeing a wild box turtle about four times a year. It has now been several years since I saw one along that road.

I think captive groups are the only hope. In the future, IF and WHEN we might actually have feasible plans set up for them to live wild, then there will be possible animals to be placed back into the wild from captive groups... captive groups which once came from the wild.
 

RedfootsRule

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Jacqui, the "personal use" part of my post was about your point c and yagyujubei. When you say you prefer WC because they are "less expensive" I can draw no other conclusion from it...

In some ways, you have a point. I would also rather see them in captivity then completely extinct. But hold on.

Most species that are being heavily imported are already being successfully bred in captivity! There is already large enough numbers of these tortoises. So why do we need to keep taking more and more from the wild?

Take even a red foot tortoise for an example, as I believe it to be the best example. There are SO many of these tortoises in captivity, yet people are still importing! Thanks to that, red foots are now listed by IUCN as VULNERABLE! There is absolutely no POSSIBLE reason to import red foots, other then to make a quick buck or to get a pretty tortoise with a new bloodline for cheaper.

With most species, if they were to go extinct, there is enough numbers in captivity for them to survive. But if we keep taking them, they have no chance in the wild. What we're doing by continually buying them is completely eliminating ANY chance they might have. If we leave whats left of these species in the wild, there may still be some there for the day when their wild habitat is protected.

If we keep taking more tortoises of those already bred in captivity, we're stealing them right behind the backs of those trying to protect them in the wild. They will finally succeed (hopefully one day, they will. PETA may finally prove to have a use in this) in protecting them in the wild, and then realize, there is no tortoises left to protect! Who is to blame if that happens?

Obviously, we need to take some WC of the species that have not yet been bred in captivity to get some assurance groups in place. But those that are being bred, we need to leave alone.
 

Jacqui

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RedfootsRule said:
Jacqui, the "personal use" part of my post was about your point c and yagyujubei. When you say you prefer WC because they are "less expensive" I can draw no other conclusion from it...

Obviously, we need to take some WC of the species that have not yet been bred in captivity to get some assurance groups in place. But those that are being bred, we need to leave alone.

The price comment is one I also make because I think folks who really are concerned about taking more from the wild, should be pricing their captive hatchlings at the same price as a wild one. I am not going to get into, well they need to make a profit, I am just looking at if you make your captives the same price as a wild one, more would buy captive. Price is an object. I myself want the majority of my money going to better housing and feeding, not on purchase price.

If I can get a pair(m/f) of WC adult Bells hingebacks for $200 or spend $600 on a pair (two animals unsexed) of CB Bells, which one makes more sense to somebody trying to get breeding going? Not only would I know I have a pair, but they would be breeding sooner, but I have that $400 to spend on making a larger more nature enclosure for them. I would spend the next several years waiting for those captives to grow up and hope they are a pair (even then they would be less of a pair because no doubt they are siblings). I have been there done that, wasted several years and the space that could have been used for actual producing animals and then ended up with only males. Even folks with "noble" purpose do need to look at price and being upfront about it should not be used as a point against those folks. You may be a person of unlimited income, most of us have to count our pennies and make them stretch.
 
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