departments and, occasionally, with county and municipal authorities. Last year no fewer than 50 government agencies and offices, conservation organizations, universities, and businesses of one sort or another were directly involved in some aspect of the eastern program. Financial support has come from numerous conservation organizations, foundations, corporations, several thousand private individuals, and federal and state agencies.

Remember, this is only one of the four major regional recovery programs for the peregrine in the United States not to mention others in Canada and elsewhere. Similar accounts could also be given for the restoration of the Atlantic salmon (Salmo solar) in New England, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempi) on the Texas coast, the whooping crane (Grus americana), the California condor, the Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata), the golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) in Brazil, the Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) in Oman, or the cheetah (Acinoynx jubatus) in South Africa. Each of these restoration programs is a huge enterprise, drawing on the skills and financial resources of many different individuals and institutions. For example, Snyder et al. (1987) give a detailed account of the work to restore the Puerto Rican parrot.

This new trend to rely more on technologies such as captive breeding and reintroduction for the restoration of species has become necessary because we human beings have not paid heed to the ecological imperative to preserve nature. We have not followed the philosophy of Leopold and others like him to keep the land and waters as fit habitats for wild animals and plants. And we are not likely to change our ways, as Norman Myers and many other authors emphasize in this book. Most human beings continue to be captivated more by what engineers do than by what ecologists say. As a consequence we are left with engineering solutions to environmental problems that have been largely created by engineers in the first place. Thus, I am led back to my opening quotation from Leopold: wildlife “can be restored by the creative use of the same tools which have heretofore destroyed it….”

As natural environments become more fragmented and degraded in their capacity to support a diversity of living forms, many once common species will be reduced to isolated remnants, existing as small populations in marginally suitable habitats separated by vast expanses of uninhabitable area. Some species—especially large ones and predatory ones—will be unable to maintain populations indefinitely under these conditions, owing to genetic, demographic, or ecological problems. Such populations can be sustained in part through captive propagation and reintroduction or by translocating individuals from one island of habitat to another (Cade, 1986b). I believe we will see an increasing need for these sorts of techniques in the coming decades as the biosphere undergoes the final change from unmanaged wilderness ecosystems to managed nature preserves, megazoos, and zooparks, which will be the final refuges for some species in outdoor environments (Conway, 1983).

Although I have stressed the cost and labor-intensive nature of propagation and reintroduction programs, I hasten to add that they really are not very expensive relative to many of the other things we human beings are willing to spend our public and private wealth to obtain. Consider the hundreds of billions of dollars this nation is being urged to spend on star wars technology, or the billions spent



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement