Game Changing Information on Wild Caught Trade

Tom

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I was sitting in a hotel room passing time when these two videos popped up on my Youtube feed. We see so many lies about "wild caught" animals furthered by political groups with an agenda, and we've been seeing and hearing it for so long, that we don't even know the truth of the matter. I was LITERALLY, in every sense of the word, a part of this chain. A direct part. I had no idea of the positive impact that my activities were having on PROTECTING the Amazon rainforest from destruction and annihilation. I had no idea of the families and communities that I was supporting. I've never had a problem with taking sustainable numbers of animals from the wild when it was done sustainably and humanely, but I really never pondered the positive impact my little hobby could be having around the world.

My father had aquariums when I was born, but I don't remember them. My Mom showed me a picture of myself as a toddler in front of one of them. He had piranhas and large predatory fish, and he got rid of them when I grew tall enough to reach the tops of the tanks and stink my fingers in. My parents divorced shortly after that, and outside of annual trips to SeaWorld, I didn't give aquariums or fish keeping much thought. Years later, on a monthly visit to my Dad's apartment at the age of 13, I had a life changing experience. Since my last visit, he'd gotten a 40 gallon aquarium on his kitchen counter and it was filled with the most colorful and interesting fish I'd ever seen. African cichlids from Lake Malawi. To say I was transfixed would be an understatement. I was mesmerized, fascinated, hypnotized, enthralled... It was magical. The way the light played through the water and on to the fish and gravel, the way the fish went about their fishy business all day, the way the fish watched me watching them, the comforting sound of the water trickling out of the filter, even the smell of the water captivated me. Seeing that I shared his fascination, my Dad happily explained the whole thing to me at length for the entire weekend. He explained that its not just fish and water, its an entire living eco-system. This was a concept that I'd neither considered nor cared about in the previous 13 years, but NOW it meant everything to me. It was the greatest gift he ever gave me. That weekend changed my life forever.

I grew up in a bad neighborhood surrounded by concrete, asphalt and violence. I'd always had a love of animals, but beyond dogs, cats, rats, roaches and pigeons, there wasn't much animal life to view, appreciate, or learn about. There was a pet store about a mile and a half from my house. After that weekend at my Dad's, I was in that pet store nearly every day. I talked my Mom into letting me get an aquarium of my own, and it grew from there. Within a year, I'd read every aquarium book in print, had 6 aquariums lining the walls of our tiny little house and worked in that pet shop. For the next few years, I worked in the fish rooms of several local pet shops, eventually becoming the fish room manager in a couple of them, and after graduating high school, I went to work at a local tropical fish importer/exporter/wholesaler, while attending a community college to get my general ed done so I could transfer to a University as a bio major and become an ichthyologist. Part of my job at the wholesaler was going to LAX at all hours of the day or nights and picking up the incoming shipments from around the world. Africa, Asia, Peru and Manaus in Brazil... I marveled at what was in those boxes. I saw one off incidentals that were un-named and unknown to science. In all these years, I've only been able to catch glimpses of what was really happening on that end of the supply chain. I used to talk with the rep from the Brazilian fish exporter we did business with and she attempted to teach me some Portuguese at a time in my life when I was busy learning Spanish. How I wish I had followed her back to Brazil. She invited me, but it just wasn't meant to be.

If you are one of the many people who think removing animals from the wild is always bad, please take the time to watch these videos. When done incorrectly, it most definitely can be bad. When done correctly, as in the case of the fisheries for the aquarium trade in the Rio Negro, it actually is good for everyone involved, including the fish, the indigenous people, the entire rainforest eco-system, and every bright eyed troubled kid, like I was, who has no idea what the heck an "eco-system" is. I hope that after watching some eyes will be opened and we can converse further. These same concepts can apply to our turtles and tortoises. For people to receive the bounty of nature, whether that be little fishes for an aquarium or turtles and tortoises for back yard pens, the environments that produce the bounty MUST be protected from destruction. People who live in those areas must feed their families. They need a sustainable positive way to do that, or they will have to turn to destructive negative ways to do it.


 

Isaiah C.

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Sep 7, 2020
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Sapulpa
That's very hard for me to wrap my head around. I'll be watching both of the videos as soon as I have time to learn more, but most of my life it has been drilled into my head that wild animals belong in their natural habitat and should never be removed.

That is actually something I struggled with when considering taking on the responsibility of my leopard tortoise. Will I be able to emulate their natural environment well enough? It seemed pretty far-fetched, so despite my love of turtles and tortoises, I put the idea off for a very long time. This forum was one of the big kickstarters in finally helping me to overcome that barrier, seeing how knowledgeable everyone was and the level of compassion shown to the tortoises on here.

Ultimately excited to watch the videos and see how this information differs from what I know. Thanks for sharing!
 

Tom

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That's very hard for me to wrap my head around. I'll be watching both of the videos as soon as I have time to learn more, but most of my life it has been drilled into my head that wild animals belong in their natural habitat and should never be removed.
The above quote is EXACTLY why this information needs to be shared. Thanks for having an open mind.
 

maggie3fan

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Joined
Jun 30, 2018
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5,144
Location (City and/or State)
PacificNorthWest
I was sitting in a hotel room passing time when these two videos popped up on my Youtube feed. We see so many lies about "wild caught" animals furthered by political groups with an agenda, and we've been seeing and hearing it for so long, that we don't even know the truth of the matter. I was LITERALLY, in every sense of the word, a part of this chain. A direct part. I had no idea of the positive impact that my activities were having on PROTECTING the Amazon rainforest from destruction and annihilation. I had no idea of the families and communities that I was supporting. I've never had a problem with taking sustainable numbers of animals from the wild when it was done sustainably and humanely, but I really never pondered the positive impact my little hobby could be having around the world.

My father had aquariums when I was born, but I don't remember them. My Mom showed me a picture of myself as a toddler in front of one of them. He had piranhas and large predatory fish, and he got rid of them when I grew tall enough to reach the tops of the tanks and stink my fingers in. My parents divorced shortly after that, and outside of annual trips to SeaWorld, I didn't give aquariums or fish keeping much thought. Years later, on a monthly visit to my Dad's apartment at the age of 13, I had a life changing experience. Since my last visit, he'd gotten a 40 gallon aquarium on his kitchen counter and it was filled with the most colorful and interesting fish I'd ever seen. African cichlids from Lake Malawi. To say I was transfixed would be an understatement. I was mesmerized, fascinated, hypnotized, enthralled... It was magical. The way the light played through the water and on to the fish and gravel, the way the fish went about their fishy business all day, the way the fish watched me watching them, the comforting sound of the water trickling out of the filter, even the smell of the water captivated me. Seeing that I shared his fascination, my Dad happily explained the whole thing to me at length for the entire weekend. He explained that its not just fish and water, its an entire living eco-system. This was a concept that I'd neither considered nor cared about in the previous 13 years, but NOW it meant everything to me. It was the greatest gift he ever gave me. That weekend changed my life forever.

I grew up in a bad neighborhood surrounded by concrete, asphalt and violence. I'd always had a love of animals, but beyond dogs, cats, rats, roaches and pigeons, there wasn't much animal life to view, appreciate, or learn about. There was a pet store about a mile and a half from my house. After that weekend at my Dad's, I was in that pet store nearly every day. I talked my Mom into letting me get an aquarium of my own, and it grew from there. Within a year, I'd read every aquarium book in print, had 6 aquariums lining the walls of our tiny little house and worked in that pet shop. For the next few years, I worked in the fish rooms of several local pet shops, eventually becoming the fish room manager in a couple of them, and after graduating high school, I went to work at a local tropical fish importer/exporter/wholesaler, while attending a community college to get my general ed done so I could transfer to a University as a bio major and become an ichthyologist. Part of my job at the wholesaler was going to LAX at all hours of the day or nights and picking up the incoming shipments from around the world. Africa, Asia, Peru and Manaus in Brazil... I marveled at what was in those boxes. I saw one off incidentals that were un-named and unknown to science. In all these years, I've only been able to catch glimpses of what was really happening on that end of the supply chain. I used to talk with the rep from the Brazilian fish exporter we did business with and she attempted to teach me some Portuguese at a time in my life when I was busy learning Spanish. How I wish I had followed her back to Brazil. She invited me, but it just wasn't meant to be.

If you are one of the many people who think removing animals from the wild is always bad, please take the time to watch these videos. When done incorrectly, it most definitely can be bad. When done correctly, as in the case of the fisheries for the aquarium trade in the Rio Negro, it actually is good for everyone involved, including the fish, the indigenous people, the entire rainforest eco-system, and every bright eyed troubled kid, like I was, who has no idea what the heck an "eco-system" is. I hope that after watching some eyes will be opened and we can converse further. These same concepts can apply to our turtles and tortoises. For people to receive the bounty of nature, whether that be little fishes for an aquarium or turtles and tortoises for back yard pens, the environments that produce the bounty MUST be protected from destruction. People who live in those areas must feed their families. They need a sustainable positive way to do that, or they will have to turn to destructive negative ways to do it.


Great thread Tom...
 

Maro2Bear

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Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
I was sitting in a hotel room passing time when these two videos popped up on my Youtube feed. We see so many lies about "wild caught" animals furthered by political groups with an agenda, and we've been seeing and hearing it for so long, that we don't even know the truth of the matter. I was LITERALLY, in every sense of the word, a part of this chain. A direct part. I had no idea of the positive impact that my activities were having on PROTECTING the Amazon rainforest from destruction and annihilation. I had no idea of the families and communities that I was supporting. I've never had a problem with taking sustainable numbers of animals from the wild when it was done sustainably and humanely, but I really never pondered the positive impact my little hobby could be having around the world.

My father had aquariums when I was born, but I don't remember them. My Mom showed me a picture of myself as a toddler in front of one of them. He had piranhas and large predatory fish, and he got rid of them when I grew tall enough to reach the tops of the tanks and stink my fingers in. My parents divorced shortly after that, and outside of annual trips to SeaWorld, I didn't give aquariums or fish keeping much thought. Years later, on a monthly visit to my Dad's apartment at the age of 13, I had a life changing experience. Since my last visit, he'd gotten a 40 gallon aquarium on his kitchen counter and it was filled with the most colorful and interesting fish I'd ever seen. African cichlids from Lake Malawi. To say I was transfixed would be an understatement. I was mesmerized, fascinated, hypnotized, enthralled... It was magical. The way the light played through the water and on to the fish and gravel, the way the fish went about their fishy business all day, the way the fish watched me watching them, the comforting sound of the water trickling out of the filter, even the smell of the water captivated me. Seeing that I shared his fascination, my Dad happily explained the whole thing to me at length for the entire weekend. He explained that its not just fish and water, its an entire living eco-system. This was a concept that I'd neither considered nor cared about in the previous 13 years, but NOW it meant everything to me. It was the greatest gift he ever gave me. That weekend changed my life forever.

I grew up in a bad neighborhood surrounded by concrete, asphalt and violence. I'd always had a love of animals, but beyond dogs, cats, rats, roaches and pigeons, there wasn't much animal life to view, appreciate, or learn about. There was a pet store about a mile and a half from my house. After that weekend at my Dad's, I was in that pet store nearly every day. I talked my Mom into letting me get an aquarium of my own, and it grew from there. Within a year, I'd read every aquarium book in print, had 6 aquariums lining the walls of our tiny little house and worked in that pet shop. For the next few years, I worked in the fish rooms of several local pet shops, eventually becoming the fish room manager in a couple of them, and after graduating high school, I went to work at a local tropical fish importer/exporter/wholesaler, while attending a community college to get my general ed done so I could transfer to a University as a bio major and become an ichthyologist. Part of my job at the wholesaler was going to LAX at all hours of the day or nights and picking up the incoming shipments from around the world. Africa, Asia, Peru and Manaus in Brazil... I marveled at what was in those boxes. I saw one off incidentals that were un-named and unknown to science. In all these years, I've only been able to catch glimpses of what was really happening on that end of the supply chain. I used to talk with the rep from the Brazilian fish exporter we did business with and she attempted to teach me some Portuguese at a time in my life when I was busy learning Spanish. How I wish I had followed her back to Brazil. She invited me, but it just wasn't meant to be.

If you are one of the many people who think removing animals from the wild is always bad, please take the time to watch these videos. When done incorrectly, it most definitely can be bad. When done correctly, as in the case of the fisheries for the aquarium trade in the Rio Negro, it actually is good for everyone involved, including the fish, the indigenous people, the entire rainforest eco-system, and every bright eyed troubled kid, like I was, who has no idea what the heck an "eco-system" is. I hope that after watching some eyes will be opened and we can converse further. These same concepts can apply to our turtles and tortoises. For people to receive the bounty of nature, whether that be little fishes for an aquarium or turtles and tortoises for back yard pens, the environments that produce the bounty MUST be protected from destruction. People who live in those areas must feed their families. They need a sustainable positive way to do that, or they will have to turn to destructive negative ways to do it.


Thanks Tom, I’ll give those a watch as well.
 

TheLastGreen

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How intresting! I can't believe it... I have a fish tank 2 metres to my right in my room, with Silver dollars and angelfish, as I sat, watching I actually said :"Hey! I have that fish!" It's fascinating that these spectacular things become so normal and then gems like these remind us, :Hey! Everything around you is much more complex than you would like to think. Thanks for the videos @Tom !
 

Tom

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How intresting! I can't believe it... I have a fish tank 2 metres to my right in my room, with Silver dollars and angelfish, as I sat, watching I actually said :"Hey! I have that fish!" It's fascinating that these spectacular things become so normal and then gems like these remind us, :Hey! Everything around you is much more complex than you would like to think. Thanks for the videos @Tom !
You are welcome. Did you watch them? Some of the info presented was new to me and surprising. It makes perfect sense, but I'd never thought of it that way.
 

jeff kushner

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YOUR description of the immersive feelings you got and still get near a tank is one mirrored by many....it's still pretty amazing when I catch that wiff of a well kept tank.

I grew up in the nonregulated era. You could literally buy ANY turtle or even a Spider Money for $19.99 off the cover of Boys Life(Boy Scouts) magazine. Lions, Cheetahs...heck, my Dad had friends with exotics. ...there was even a Monkey in a cage at a store in Ocean City MD for 10 years! I rode Elephants at the local carnivals and I owned a lot of exotic animals in the 70's after leaving home at 15.

After growing up, I can tell you that it was a time of rape for many species and yes, it bothers me now that we were so casual with the lives of so many animals.

As an adult, I've traveled while on vacations to 27 of 35 countries in this hemisphere and can categorically tell you, there are still REALLY poor people in this world for whom selling the last monkey or turtle to be able to trade for food for their kids still is a very real issue. Those folks feel no different about their kids than we do but there are many places where there is zero opportunity to work for wages so people trade and try to get food from their land/water location by finding wilds, fishing, trapping whatever they have to do but there is no "money", none. In Belize for example, the entire family works-for-food or barter, but maybe one of of them may be lucky enough to work for a Chinese grocery store(China owns all of them) or one of the few hotels off the Cayes for actual money, usually the teenage daughter for obvious reasons....being pretty, she can get a job easier. Sad but true Tom.....

We are just becoming aware as a people in the past 20-30 yrs, we've still got a very long way to go b/c to truly protect wildlife, we must eliminate greed. The people on point with this, you guys...have my utmost respect...you are the "word spreaders"!

Great read Tom, now for a couple of vids up on the bigger screen.....super post!

jeff
 
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