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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

That Fish Is Actually A Genius: The Aesthetics of Conservation

David A. Fehrenthold writes:

The furry, the feathered, the famous and the edible have dominated government funding for protected species, to the point that one subpopulation of threatened salmon gets more money than 956 other plants and animals combined.

Now, though, scientists say they're noticing a little more love for the unlovely.

They say plain-Jane plants, birds with fluorescent goiters and beetles that meet their mates at rat corpses are getting new money and respect -- finally valued as homely canaries inside treasured ecosystems.

But it still can be a hard sell. That's obvious here in California's Central Valley, where farmers are locked in a bitter fight with a glassy-eyed smelt.

"Over a stupid fish," said Mendota Mayor Robert Silva.

link: Saving Species No Longer About the Prettiest -


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