There is no justification for conservationists to defend particular species because of their “ethnicity”, Professor Christopher Smout writes in a new book, Exploring Environmental History.
Campaigns against “alien invaders”—such as the cull of American ruddy ducks to prevent them from breeding with European duck species—have no basis in science, he argues.
“Conservationists are up in arms because they fear the ducks will all get turned into some kind of mishmash,” he told The Independent.
“The conservationists would say: ‘We’re doing this because it’s endangering the genetic integrity of the white-headed duck.”
“I don’t think that’s a scientifically valid point of view. The concern with genetic integrity seems almost quasi-racist. Our attitude to alien species is culturally determined and sometimes you end up with rather bizarre actions by scientists.”
He added that interbreeding between species could often bring evolutionary benefits, and dismissed fears that the genetic identity of red deer in Scotland is threatened by silka deer, which were brought to the UK from Asia in 1860.
Convenient of this professor to compile every cliche opposing defense of ethnic-cultural self-preservation into a single article. Well done!
Conservationists realize that each race of each species has adapted over thousands of years to its unique environment, and each race has its own genetic log of these adaptations. If it is suddenly convenient for new species to show up, we are not seeing proof of their adaptation to this environment in the long-term, only a shorter-term aggression.
So to mix the two is not only to reverse evolution and destroy natural selection, but to weaken the species for the future. Like all modern solutions, it's short sighted and outward-directed, not clear on differentiating between our impulses and how our world works.