Our report from over the ocean, in Germany, is mixed. On the negative side, half of that country’s butterfly species are now threatened with extinction. Fortunately, the toads are doing much better: In Munster, for the first time in German history (and in world history; as far as we know), all traffic was halted on a main highway from 8:00 p.m. until midnight to allow a migrating knot of toads to reach their spawning grounds.
It’s too bad that the wild and rare California condor can’t elicit consideration similar to that which the German toads received. Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and both the Los Angeles and San Diego zoos, are now advocating the seizure of all condors in the wild. They claim that the bird has a chance for survival as a species onlyif it’s confined and protected. What these organizations don’t mention, however, is that a live condor is considered to be quite a trophy by zoos, since it enhances the prestige of the institution and attracts visitors. We believe that captivity isn’t a viable endangered species protection strategy. The wild condor and its habitat should take precedence over building a flock for exhibition. The capture plan should be halted immediately and replaced by a comprehensive habitat protection program.