An Owl for An Owl

by kdesrochers on March 16, 2015 - 9:37pm

            In the article, “Shooting Owls to Save Other Owls”, published by National Geographic News on July 19, 2014, and written by Isabelle Groc who illustrates that whether one believes it is right to kill one species for another is no longer an issue as the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has decided to try a new tactic in order to save what is known as “an icon for environmentalists: the northern spotted owl” (Groc). Lowell Diller has been the chosen one to kill the rivals of the northern spotted owls in an attempt to save the population of the spotted owls in northern California. According to Groc, the northern spotted owl was listed as an endangered species in 1990 and its habitat has dramatically decreased by 88% since the early 1800s. The newest thought to save the owl is to kill other owls; the rival species in question are that of the barred owls who are pushing the spotted owls out of the habitat and invading their territory.

            Evolution is an important scientific aspect; evolution has allowed people to understand how humans have made it so far while other species have not. Evolution has demonstrated the importance of change and moving forward. If it would not have been the dying off of other species, humans may not have come to be where they are today. If dinosaurs would not have become extinct, who’s to say humans would even be alive? By taking initiative in deciding that a species should be killed in order to save another is like trying to play the role of God all over again. Many organizations take the opportunities to try and save other species, however, this does not always necessarily include killing another. WWF Canada is an organization that accepts donations and tries to preserve habitats by creating national parks, protecting other pieces of land, etc. The goal of WWF is to protect life not kill off another.

            It is important to remember that evolution is a part of life, I understand trying to save species and protect their environment. However, I do not believe that humans have the right to take initiative to kill other animals for the sake of what is seen as icons. All of life is important and should be protected, though adaptation is something that must be allowed to happen. Therefore, instead of trying to play God, mankind should use the tools at hand to protect and save the environment and species without harming another.

For more information on either the article summarized or WWF follow the links below:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140717-spotted-owls-barred-shooting-logging-endangered-species-science/

http://www.wwf.ca/

Comments

Likewise, I believe that all species have a right to live on this planet, just like humans do. I agree with your argument on how we should protect species instead of choosing which ones deserve to survive. It is in our best interests to protect other species simply because once they are gone, they are gone forever. I don't believe our diverse wildlife should be taken for granted, and we should honour their presence by protecting their existence. Just like the World Wildlife Fund, the NCC (Nature Conservancy of Canada) aims to protect wildlife and preserve our natural heritage. For more information on the NCC, please refer to the link below.

http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/who-we-are/mission-values/

I understand that you do not find it to be very ethical to start killing individuals from other species in order to save another one, but it is a method of conservation that is sometimes very necessary, even here in Canada. Take the seals for example. Their population constantly needs to be controlled by hunting in order to protect some fish in the North like the Greenland halibut. In the case of the owls, I believe that since the other species is somewhat invasive, it is perfectly fine. If you are interested in other conservation organizations, here is the Canadian Wildlife Federation: http://cwf-fcf.org/en/do-something/

I found your post very interesting, as I too believe that humans do not have the right to play god nor should they have the arrogance to assume that one life is more valuable than others. The rationalist perspective of your response recognizes that through the use of reason, we can determine universal maxims, such as the forbiddance to kill, which must be obeyed in order to achieve an ethical society. However, I think it is also important to look at different approaches regarding this issue. For example, one could argue that eradicating the rival species would actually be the most beneficial course of action for society. According to this utilitarian perspective, the focus is on the end result and the most important thing is to produce the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. In this case, the summum bonum, or highest good, would be to preserve the spotted owl due to its label as an endangered species whose habitat continues to dramatically decrease. Utilitarian’s would ague that the preservation of an environmental icon is the most beneficial thing to do in order to maintain a diverse wildlife, regardless of the means used.

The way the article is described is very clear and up front. You mention that the Northern Spotted owl is an endangered species and that the newest thought to save them would be to kill the barred owls who are taking over their environment. This thought would be approved by a Utilitarian because it would result in saving the spotted owls regardless the killing of the barred owls. A Utilitarian would look at the motives and consequences of the decision made, and in this case the most crucial aspect is to preserve the spotted owls since they are endangered species no matter what is done to save them the importance is to maintain our animals life.

The way the article is described is very clear and up front. You mention that the Northern Spotted owl is an endangered species and that the newest thought to save them would be to kill the barred owls who are taking over their environment. This thought would be approved by a Utilitarian because it would result in saving the spotted owls regardless the killing of the barred owls. A Utilitarian would look at the motives and consequences of the decision made, and in this case the most crucial aspect is to preserve the spotted owls since they are endangered species no matter what is done to save them the importance is to maintain our animals life.

I happen to disagree with your perspective. I believe that you have not described the issue as was due. Yes the plan is to kill a species to save another but that fact is that we are not eradicating the barred owls but only killing a select few of them. This is a proven environmental control method. Now I am not saying we should never let evolution take its course but the fact is that what is happening is not evolution. Species are dying as a result of human activity; deforestation, habitat loss, food loss, etc. Animals are no longer living in an environment which can control itself. If we apply what you say and just let "evolution" take its course, the result will be a tremendous loss of biodiversity. I suggest you read the following link to an article also published in the national geographic. It explains the instances when and why such tactics are used and why they are important. There exists confusion between wildlife conservation, which aims to maintain the health of biodiversity, and animal rights in our society. But the fact remains that if we want to maintain species, we cannot just stand by any more and that is due to our own impact. Remember, these conservationists are not killing owls for fun, it is a last effort to save another species. Here is the link: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140305-culling-badgers-d....