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Opinion. Collecting and conservation: cause and effect

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 November 2000

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The killing of birds for scientific reference causes debate and dispute whose intensity is in inverse proportion to its relevance as a conservation issue, with similar degrees of heat being generated only by such momentous things as the standardization of vernacular bird names. Doubtless this is because these are seemingly simple, black-and-white issues over which many people feel they have sufficient personal clarity and power to achieve a resolution. Really important matters – global warming, intransigent debt arrangements for developing nations, exponential human population growth, obliteration of habitats for short-term human gain, scandalous abuses of biocide in agriculture, saturation-level corruption and incompetence in state conservation agencies, all of which are poised to degrade the ornithological environment beyond recognition – belong to another dimension altogether in which most of us are simply sleepwalking towards doomsday. It is important, then, to get the collecting issue into reasonable perspective as soon as humanly possible.

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© 2000 Cambridge University Press
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