Sunday, June 30, 2002

Culture vs. Ecology

From Yahoo! News comes this article about Buddhists in Hong Kong, and the unintended consequences of one their religious practices. Many who follow Buddhism believe that they are morally bound to free any trapped animal, and the act of doing so will increase health and well-being. Buddhists in Hong Kong will often buy animals from the markets and then release them into the wild. This is so common that there are entrepreneurs who trap common wild animals, such as sparrows, sell them to people, and then recapture them once they are released. Unfortunately, this religious practice can have unintended consequences. One is that well-intentioned Buddhists sometimes release animals into the wrong habitat, where the animals cannot survive. Another is that non-native animals, including turtles and frogs from North America, are becoming established in the wild, threatening native Asian species.

No comments: