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10 July 2011
is an old adage that observes that if you want the same result,
just keep on doing the same things.
The loss of the famed Jewelled Gecko to wild
life smugglers continues unabated from the Otago Peninsula and
no doubt - else where. In fact they (the Geckos) are no sooner
returned by Customs and DoC to their “natural”
surroundings when some other foreign or indigenous scoundrel
nicks them again.
their numbers decline as more and more are “exported”
response to this affront is a lead article in the ODT and
comment from suitably outraged citizens. The smugglers are
appropriately described as greedy people with little regard to
the sanctity of NZs indigenous wildlife.
the most recent case, the indignant judge felt Parliament
should increase the fine and jail sentences available to be
imposed. Despite the likely hood of such popular measures,
does any body really think there will be a fall off of
interest by smugglers?
will happen is all too obvious. As the penalties go up (along
with the risk of being caught), so too will the price of the
jewelled gecko in the (illegal but real) market place. Logic
decrees that the higher the price, the greater the risk the
smugglers are prepared to accept. Without realising it, the
Department of Conservation will effectively be incentivising
the illegal export of our Jewelled Gecko to meet an obviously
insatiable demand overseas. The international price tag of
upwards of $10,000 per reptile becomes an incentive to all
those willing to break the law as they are also willing to
risk the sanction of fines or a compulsory extended stay as a
guest of Her Majesty’s facility at nearby Milton.
this alternative to the Governments version of how wildlife
should exist in NZ.
gecko breeders with secure premises engage in state sanctioned
commerce with buyers from all over the world. The Jewelled
Gecko live out their lives in five star accommodation provided
by the authorized breeder and freed from the annoying habit of
having to find food as that would be provided fresh daily by
the authorized breeder. The prospect of ending up as a tasty
morsel themselves for a passing cat, ferret or stoat is
eliminated. This singular action of security against
nature’s sanctioned predation would likely double the
population of the Jewelled Gecko in twelve months.
problem then arises as what to do with the abundant offspring
of a breeding pair.
the world most of us inhabit, a breeder of surplus stock
advertises surplus goods for sale either locally or on the
internet to attract international buyers. The authorized
breeder may well then be required to return a commission to
the Department of Conservation who in turn could use those
funds for other projects, happy in the knowledge that the
Jeweled Gecko has been saved from extinction.
real question is – would such a system (to save the Jewelled
Gecko) work in reality.
seems to work for sheep, cattle, caged birds, rare fowl, fish,
cats, pigs, crocodiles, deer….. Well – I think you get the
picture. The only real risk to the concept is the scheme being
too successful. Somebody is likely to suggest – if saving
the Jewelled Gecko is really so easy why not apply the same
principles to many other wildlife species and increase the
would be happy to trial the concept and even pay for DoC's
oversight of the project.
10k a reptile we would help pay off the nation’s debt and soon
have enough left over to mount a reverse take over of DoC.
there’s a thought.
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