RESEARCH NEEDS BIOETHICAL BOUNDARIES
AND VETERINARY SUPERVISION
There are several documented, and many word-of
accounts of chemically immobilized and otherwise restrained endangered species
like the Asian elephant and African wild dog being severely injured, killed or
dying soon after capture and/or release. In some instances there was an
association with the animals being injected with un-tested and un-approved
modified live virus vaccines. In other instances the injured or killed animal
was a pregnant or nursing mother.
veterinary supervision is called for especially when research biologists are
loose in the field using drugs and vaccines on their animal subjects and
applying various methods of capture and restraint which may cause serious
injury, capture myopathy and even death.
Wildlife continue to be harassed, stressed,
and subjected to
these in-field risks so that tissue and blood samples can be taken (though DNA evidence can be obtained
from feces and
rubbing/marking areas), radio collars and even cameras fitted,
and microchips implanted. The generation of
more scientific data from such field research may help advance careers and
engender more funding, and give some substance to wildlife management schemes.
But when the animals in question are put at risk, and there are no in-place
regulations and effective law enforcement to protect and restore their existing
habitats, and to extend same in order to help minimize accelerating loss of
genetic biodiversity, then these wildlife researchers should cease and desist.
Such activities alone
have nothing to do with wildlife conservation and at best give the false
impression that something is being done, the foreign presence alone being a deterrent
to poaching etc etc. Yet in reality from a bioethical perspective, the risks to
the animals far exceed the immediate and foreseeable benefits. So I appeal to
all appropriate institutions, governmental and non-governmental, for-profit and
not-for profit, to encourage alternative, non-invasive wildlife research, and
to cease funding and permitting any form of wildlife capture except for urgent
veterinary and conservation-translocation reasons.
Dr. Michael W. Fox