Another one bites the dust...

And another species hits the endangered list -- finally. This is something that really grinds my gears. According to the Environmental News Network, the California tiger salamander has been waiting to be put on the "protected" list for almost five years. The original petition was turned down by the Fish and Game Commission in 2004, basically because they didn't want to put the species on the list. The Commission went on to falsely claim they lacked "proof" that the species was in fact endangered, despite repeated attempts by the Center for Biological Diversity to show empirically that the salamander deserved to be on the list. One commissioner repeatedly referred to the species as a "problem", citing that the salamander's presence on private land constituted a nuisance.

Great idea guys -- let's deny protection to any species we deem inconvenient. There's a species that's even more troublesome than the tiger salamander -- I'll give you three guesses. Chances are you won't need the first two.

It's okay, I'll wait.

Still haven't got it?

It's us.

Seriously, who are we to start playing God and deciding what species gets to thrive and what species gets the axe? Who are the commissioners of the Fish and Game board to make those kinds of decisions? We don't run the planet...and if it wasn't for our intervention, chances are the salamanders (among the thousands of other endangered species) would probably be just fine. It bothers me on a very fundamental level that we think ourselves so high-and-mighty as to take the power of life and death away from Nature or God or whatever and start making determinations that could change life as we know it on this planet for the worse. Okay, maybe the tiger salamanders don't play a HUGE role in the ecosystem, but if they didn't play A role, it's likely they would have died out on their own.

This planet's ecosystem is far, far too complex for us to begin to be able to comprehend it -- and therefore we're making sweeping decisions based on incomplete information. What a terrible thing to ponder.

Oh well, something is better than nothing, I guess, and I'm glad to hear the salamanders finally made the grade. Maybe if we're lucky we can save this species from disappearing altogether.

Read the original story here.

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