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Artificial Misting System Allows Reintroduction of Extinct Toad

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the spritzing-back-to-life dept.

Earth 121

terrancem writes "The Kihansi Spray Toad went extinct in the wild in 2005 when its habitat in Tanzania was destroyed by a dam. However conservationists at the Bronx Zoo managed to maintain a captive population which is now large enough to allow a bold experiment to move forward: reintroducing the toad into its old habitat. To make the once tropical gorge moist again, engineers have designed an artificial misting system that should allow toads to survive in the wild. The effort marks what may be the first time conservationists have ever re-established an 'extinct' species in a human-engineered ecosystem."

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Extinct? (2, Insightful)

rotorbudd (1242864) | about 2 years ago | (#41851153)

If there was a captive population all along how could the species be extinct?
Good job editors.

Re:Extinct? (5, Funny)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41851171)

The lesson that we can take away from this is that good editors should have been kept in zoos too.

Re:Extinct? (3, Funny)

immaterial (1520413) | about 2 years ago | (#41851209)

You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means!

Re:Extinct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851273)

Re:Extinct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851441)

Even if it was extinct in the wild, wouldn't it still meet that requirement since an artificial misting system is not "the wild". Once humans die out or someone turns off the system, then these toads are toast.

Re:Extinct? (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41851839)

Once humans die out or someone turns off the system, then these toads are toast.

Mmm, toasted toad...

Seriously, if an artificial misting system is needed to keep them alive, the chances of their survival is none. I give it max 20 years before it gets turned off for budgetary concerns or maintenance neglect, or conflicts with local people who wants the land and its resources.

http://www.google.com/search?q=failed+conservation+efforts+in+tanzania [google.com]

Any which way, they'll croak.

now we need some dino dna (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41851941)

So they can come back and be put in a zoo

Re:Extinct? (1)

Saithe (982049) | about 2 years ago | (#41852085)

Any which way, they'll croak.

XD
How long did it take you to think that one up?

Re:Extinct? (2)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41852257)

How is that any different from any other human managed habitat? Lakes stocked with fish from hatcheries, dams with fish ladders, wildlife preserves and parks that are artificially kept "wild" by eliminating "invasive" species from the neighborhood of houses across the street...etc, etc. All are managed habitats. This is simply less passive more active.

Re:Extinct? (1)

readin (838620) | about 2 years ago | (#41853817)

It depends on whether the mist system can outlast the dam. The mist system is only needed because of the dam. And the article's description of the system makes no reference to electricity or other human intervention for making the system work. The question is, if abandoned by the humans will the mist system continue working long enough to keep the frogs alive until the dam collapses and the original waterfall habitat returns.

Re:Extinct? (5, Informative)

davmoo (63521) | about 2 years ago | (#41851435)

The editors are correct. It very clearly says "extinct in the wild". "In the wild" does not include "in captivity".

Re:Extinct? (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41851847)

The editors are correct. It very clearly says "extinct in the wild". "In the wild" does not include "in captivity".

Even when in Manhattan?

 

 

Re:Extinct? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852161)

The title says "extinct" without any qualifier. Therefore the editors are wrong.

Re:Extinct? (0)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41852231)

And the summary right below (literally, about 1/8th inch) says "in the wild". Shortening headlines for space is commonly accepted.

Re:Extinct? (1, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#41852989)

Unfortunately, shortening the headline and changing the meaning is not a good practice. See the two following headlines.

Residents of New York Still Without Power

Residents of New York Still Without Power Gloves

See how I didn't change the meaning at all by chopping off the end of that headline.

Re:Extinct? (1)

Gerinych (1393861) | about 2 years ago | (#41853867)

Oh, those poor Nintendo nerds...

Re:Extinct? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41854065)

Yes, if you take it out of context and to a ridiculous extreme end, you have a point. That removing words can change meaning. well done.

In this headline, the shortened version is fine.

Re:Extinct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41853947)

Wouldn't that be endangered instead?

Re:Extinct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851437)

"The Kihansi Spray Toad went extinct in the wild

It's an important distinction.

Re:Extinct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851473)

extinct/ikstiNG(k)t/
Adjective:
(of a species, family, or other larger group) Having no living members

Re:Extinct? (3, Informative)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41851699)

And the call is....no foul on the editors! The summary says right there "extinct in the wild"

Extinct in the wild is a valid classification, used when biologists are unable to confirm a types existence in...the wild..., or when they are only able to find 1 or 2 specimens, which is also sometimes called "functionally extinct". such as the last of one of the giant tortoise subspecies that died recently, that was the sole remaining member known, and male, and as such totally unable to breed and continue the (sub)species.

So you are very very -NOT- insightful.

Re:Extinct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852395)

Even if the summary is correct, the title is still wrong. So the editors still bungled the story.

Oops, still insightful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852723)

The headline clearly states that it is extinct. The summary having the qualification "in the wild" does not excuse the misleading title. So the sarcastic "Good job, editors" is valid, stands, and I hereby second it. It's the same as if they ran a story with the headline "Apple gives away newest iPad for 1 dollar" and in the summary it qualifies the claim with "to each perspective purchasor after he or she makes a downpayment of $498.00 on the $499 device."

Basically, it's a non-story, since the toad isn't fucking extinct, an occurrance that is becoming increasingly common on Slashdot. News For Turds, Shit That Splatters indeed!

Re:Extinct? (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41852037)

extinct

They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it does.

Re:Extinct? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41852979)

Not only is your comment redundant, it's wrong. I'm redundant, too, when I point out (as has already been done) that it's extinct IN THE WILD. That's accurate. You just missed three words is all.

Re:Extinct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852607)

"extinct in the wild" - that is a legitimate designation, only captives remain.

My question is how much is all this costing them and what demonstrated ecological benefit does the toad provide to justify the cost? It's been gone for 7 years in that habitat... is it even missed?

Re:Extinct? (1)

arielCo (995647) | about 2 years ago | (#41852621)

The Kihansi Spray Toad went extinct in the wild in 2005 when its habitat in Tanzania was destroyed by a dam.

Extinct in the Wild (EW) is a conservation status assigned to species or lower taxa, the only known living members of which are being kept in captivity or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinct_in_the_Wild [wikipedia.org]

A very unusual toad (5, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#41851165)

These toads are very unusual. The noise of the waterfall makes croking an impractical method of communication. They instead use hand signals to communicate.

Re:A very unusual toad (1)

GDI Lord (988866) | about 2 years ago | (#41851231)

And here I thought what made them unusual was that they could spontaneously change sex...

Re:A very unusual toad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851283)

And here I thought they were unusual because they came back from existinction with some added water, like chia pets.

Re:A very unusual toad (4, Funny)

Loosifur (954968) | about 2 years ago | (#41851287)

Do you have a reference for that? Because I just blew twenty minutes looking for videos of frogs signing to each other when I could have been watching porn.

Re:A very unusual toad (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#41851347)

Why weren't you watching porn *while* looking for videos of frogs signing each other? Does it really take that much concentration to watch the former?

Re:A very unusual toad (5, Funny)

Loosifur (954968) | about 2 years ago | (#41851353)

No, but the resulting juxtaposition just does weird things to you after awhile. You start getting some funny ideas when you see Kermit on television, that sort of thing.

Re:A very unusual toad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852799)

To the toads, videos of them signing to each other is porn. "Check out the wave on her!"

Re:A very unusual toad (2)

craigminah (1885846) | about 2 years ago | (#41851565)

Drivers in Washington DC can't communicate on the highways and instead use hand signals to communicate with other drivers. Kind of an interesting adaptation...

If a species has gone extinct in the wild should humans reintroduce them? I assume species go extinct because they are nonviable...who the heck are we to play God when the reintroduced species will most likely suffer and/or perish again.

Re:A very unusual toad (2, Insightful)

rainmouse (1784278) | about 2 years ago | (#41851747)

If a species has gone extinct in the wild should humans reintroduce them? I assume species go extinct because they are nonviable...who the heck are we to play God when the reintroduced species will most likely suffer and/or perish again.

They became nonviable because we destroyed their habitat. It seems strange that you consider undoing damage we have caused as somehow playing God, but not the actual acts of habitat destruction, extinction of species and land modification. What is it about Bible thumping that goes hand in hand with corporate cash flow without moral recompense?

Re:A very unusual toad (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41852029)

If you are anti-religious, as you seem to elude to, then you must accept that we are natural beings and are not the only ones that advantageously alter their habitat without regard for the consequences to other natural beings. [wikipedia.org]

You have not refuted his point. You have unwittingly supported it.

Re:A very unusual toad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852435)

it's "allude", you muppet.

Re:A very unusual toad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852787)

If you are anti-religious, as you seem to elude to, then you must accept that we are natural beings and are not the only ones that advantageously alter their habitat without regard for the consequences to other natural beings.

He's not anti-religious, he's asking why it is that many people who falsely claim to be devout Christians interpret the Bible in such a way that modifying and/or destroying God's creation for profit does not count as "playing God," but rectifying that damage and destruction somehow does. If that question offends you, perhaps you are one of those people and it's time to critically examine your beliefs.

Your argument with regards to habitat modification seems to suggest that you believe humans are equal to other animals in terms of morality as well. A beaver that builds a dam has no hope of knowing the ecological impacts of his actions. You seem to be arguing that humans are no more intelligent than an aquatic rodent. Is that the case?

Re:A very unusual toad (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41853327)

A beaver that builds a dam has no hope of knowing the ecological impacts of his actions.

First, what makes you think that beavers dont understand the ecological impacts of their actions?
Second, what makes you think that we understand the ecological impacts of our actions?

Your argument with regards to habitat modification seems to suggest that you believe humans are equal to other animals in terms of morality as well.

I merely believe that we evolved to make decisions that benefit ourselves, our families, and our tribe (nationalism is just another name for tribalism.) That sometimes the order of importance of these things is different than given is also a matter of evolution at its core. I also observe that many people conflate conservation with preservation, to the detriment of both philosophies.

Re:A very unusual toad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41853515)

First, what makes you think that beavers dont understand the ecological impacts of their actions? Second, what makes you think that we understand the ecological impacts of our actions?

Your point seems to be that beavers may be our intellectual equals, or even perhaps our superiors. I suppose I can grant you that. There's no real way of knowing until we develop a way of interspecies communication.

I merely believe that we evolved to make decisions that benefit ourselves, our families, and our tribe (nationalism is just another name for tribalism.) That sometimes the order of importance of these things is different than given is also a matter of evolution at its core.

You're wanting to conflate evolution with the destruction of natural habitat. I don't think you can argue that building dams is a requirement of survival. It is disconnected from evolution.

I also observe that many people conflate conservation with preservation, to the detriment of both philosophies.

By definition. I think many people *reject* conservation and instead prefer preservation. That is a distinctly different attitude than confusing the two.

Re:A very unusual toad (1)

hesiod (111176) | about 2 years ago | (#41856281)

I don't think you can argue that building dams is a requirement of survival. It is disconnected from evolution.

It is certainly not disconnected from evolution: they started doing for some reason, and continued to do it as they evolved. Maybe at some point it WAS a matter of survival, such as lowering down-stream water levels so larger water predators couldn't swim up-stream to get at them.

Re:A very unusual toad (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#41854633)

That is because they subscribe to the church of Supply Side Jesus [youtube.com] and every time you hurt the stock numbers or pay capital gains you make Supply Side Jesus cry.

So if Supply Side Jesus wanted that frog saved then dammit he'd have made them profitable to raise! I mean do you hear about cows, chickens, or minks going extinct? Of course not because they were blessed by Supply Side Jesus with the miraculous gift of exploit-ability!

Re:A very unusual toad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852163)

What's this "We", kemosabe?

Re:A very unusual toad (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 2 years ago | (#41852543)

They became nonviable because we destroyed their habitat. It seems strange that you consider undoing damage we have caused as somehow playing God
All errors are cumulative, all interference is absolute value. Two wrongs don't make a right, although three lefts do.

Animals were given into mankind's hands (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41852645)

who the heck are we to play God

I'll assume for a moment that by God you mean the Judeo-Christian God: God warned Noah of a worldwide natural disaster to come in A.M. 1656 and gave him plans and several decades to build a 3-story barge to carry specimens of each kind of animal safely through this disaster. After the barge landed, God told Noah who was in charge of the animals: "Into your hand they are now given." (Genesis 9:2 [jw.org] ) So becoming good stewards of wildlife by no means contravenes what God expects of His followers.

Re:Animals were given into mankind's hands (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41854095)

Yes, lets use the ridiculous impossible example of Noah. And lets no forget that God made that disaster and killed million of innocent children.
Well, not really becasue it didn't happen.

God doesn't destroy righteous with wicked (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41854317)

And lets no forget that God made that disaster and killed million of innocent children.

God waited for all the other righteous people to have passed away before sending the flood. It occurred very soon after Noah's grandfather Methuselah and father Lamech had already died due to other causes. (Genesis 5:25-31) It's not in God's nature to destroy righteous people along with the wicked. --Genesis 18:22-33.

Well, not really becasue it didn't happen.

Han didn't really shoot first, Darth Vader wasn't really Luke's father, Pinocchio wasn't brought to life by the Blue Fairy, and women with sirenomelia can't really sing underwater. Those events happened in Disney movies [slashdot.org] . But craigminah introduced a character from The Bible, so I'll continue to refer to The Bible.

Re:Animals were given into mankind's hands (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41856843)

if you're gonna belittle something, at least know what you're talking about.

nowhere in the story does it say he drowned innocent children.

in fact, the story makes it quite plain that the flood was punishment for wickedness and that only noah and his family were to be spared. the statement implicit in that is that everyone else was found wanting, ie, wicked.

Re:A very unusual toad (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about 2 years ago | (#41852819)

If a species has gone extinct in the wild should humans reintroduce them?

Because they want to.

who the heck are we to play God

People who want things.

What kind of sick fuck doesn't play god every day? Go back to your cave (literally!) and eat your wild grass strains, assuming you can find any.

Re:A very unusual toad (3, Interesting)

riT-k0MA (1653217) | about 2 years ago | (#41851599)

Not strictly [tulane.edu] true.
The dense vegetation makes it implausible for the frogs to communicate by hand signals alone. Rather it is thought they use a mix of body language and ultrasonic sound over a short distance in order to communicate.
The Ultrasonic part is only a guess as the middle part of the frogs ear is not air-filled, and the inner part of the ear does not seem to be connected to any outer surface of the frog. This can be tested, but the scientists can't exactly vivisect a critically-endangered animal, so they have to guess.

Re:A very unusual toad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851857)

The Kihansi Spray toads might feel a little lonely when they arrive at their new home. Why not introduce a population of Cane toads - then the Kihansi toads will be able to make plenty of friends.

Re:A very unusual toad (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41852279)

These toads are very unusual. The noise of the waterfall makes croking an impractical method of communication. They instead use hand signals to communicate.

Then why didn't they signal to the authors that they're not actually extinct?

Hydroelectric, anyone? (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#41851279)

This is what happens when dams are built. It doesn't matter if it's meant to prevent flooding or generate electricity. Either way, animals are genocided and humans benefit. Maybe we could use less electricity so we don't need so many damn dams.

Re:Hydroelectric, anyone? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851313)

You go ahead and use less electricity. I suggest starting with turning off your computer. You're not using it for anything worthwhile anyway.

Re:Hydroelectric, anyone? (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#41851381)

This is what happens when dams are built. It doesn't matter if it's meant to prevent flooding or generate electricity. Either way, animals are genocided and humans benefit. Maybe we could use less electricity so we don't need so many damn dams.

Ya, someone should kill all beavers.

Re:Hydroelectric, anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851393)

Then what do you propose?
Fossil fuels, which destroy much much more through extraction and use? Or perhaps nuclear fuels? They need to get mined too you know, not to mention the wastes produced by those power plants and I don't mean just the remains of the fuel after it's been expended.

Solar power? you need to cover very large areas with panels. I have to wonder though, would that affect the clime in any way, since there's a lot of light/energy redirected back in the sky instead of heating the ground?

Wind power? lots of windmills that kill off anything that flies, and probably generate enough noise that predators easily catch whatever they want.

etc etc etc

The moment humans set out to domesticate animals and raise crops, everything we've done ever since was terraforming. Population will keep growing, energy and food demand will also. Unless you plan to wipe out the human species, then it's best if you realize soon, extinct species will remain in museums or formadelhide jars.

"genocided" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851415)

I suggest you contribute to the environment by doing your part to limit population growth.

Genebank (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41851423)

Nature has already made extinct about a million times more species than mankind ever has, or ever will, long before we made an appearance. In fact nature made a damn good effort at finishing us off a couple of times. The difference is we can think about the consequences.

What we need is a major international effort to preserve the genetic material of as many endangered species as possible, of all sorts, in a genetic bank. When technology advances far enough both in genetics and energy production we can then recreate these species if possible. It wouldn't be a reason to act irresponsibly but maybe its the best that can be done at the moment.

Re:Genebank (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41852113)

If you take the humans-are-evil-because-they-wipe-out-species, then wouldn't re-introducing extinct species also be sort of irresponsible under the same philosophy?

If we could bring back pterodactyls today, would it really be wise? It isnt hard to imagine the devastation to many species that this would cause. Perhaps it is actually immoral to preserve the possibility of that sort of thing happening. Can we trust future humans to only bring back these species when its a good idea to do so? Maybe we shouldn't give them the chance to make horribly bad decisions.

Re:Genebank (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#41852441)

Yes, let's re-create wave after wave of Chinese Needle Snakes. Did you remember to store the DNA of that special type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat?

Species go extinct because they're worthless and weak. We are not the planet's keeper.

Re:Genebank (1)

N!k0N (883435) | about 2 years ago | (#41855117)

And then some dumbass scientist decides "hey, we can bring back dinosaurs" ...
not like _THAT_ isn't a bad idea.

Re:Hydroelectric, anyone? (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#41851523)

humans benefit

You don't have to convince me twice. I'm building a dam in my backyard stream tomorrow!

Re:Hydroelectric, anyone? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#41855367)

Your neighbors upstream of you will likely be displeased at the flooding.
That's why people spend endless money on pools instead.

Re:Hydroelectric, anyone? (4, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41851729)

Microecosystems are very fragile yes. But they are also not typically that common. that is micro-ecological systems where a species is severely restricted one waterfall, one pool (Devils Hole Pupfish), etc. Such critters are essentially relics, that got super attached to one thing, and that one thing is now cutoff. In essence, they overadapted in the wrong direction, and are thus naturally headed to extinction even if we didn't build the dam (unless the system somehow reverses itself and their small little niche grows once more).

It's like if a three legged cat in a world of dogs managed to still exist by only living on top of a high butte above the plain...and then an earthquake leveled the butte and now the cats are on the same level as the dogs, and thus now become dogchow.

Re:Hydroelectric, anyone? (2)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41851763)

actually i shouldnt say they arent that common. rather they arent that commonly identified, because the "resolution" so to speak required to identify them is typically so small. the bigger a critters range, the easier it is to identify its presence. though on the other hand, frequently these critters also arent distinct species but subspecies. in this case, it was a distinct species, and they wre numerous (TFA says ~17k individuals in a tiny area) prior to the dam. The artical also mentions disease as a factor, and that is als important to note. such microhabitat critters being so specialized to their small locations are extremely vulnerable to -any- outside influence or change such as disease. it would be unusual to see a critter like that reverse course and adapt back out of its specialized niche and not go extinct.

Re:Hydroelectric, anyone? (1)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#41853185)

"Microecosystems are very fragile yes. But they are also not typically that common."

This is completely false. In the Cactaceae and Orchidaceae plant families alone there are literally hundreds of such examples I can think of. That's before you start looking at every other plant and animal family going.

You also can't simply dismiss them as unimportant, some of these small colony species and plants can be essential to the migratory patterns of other animals who have a much wider effect. Let's look at a real life example, if a species, such as Arrojadoa marylanae, a type of cactus growing in a single mineral rich hill habitat gets whiped out by planned mining of it's habitat then a hummingbird species dependent on it for it's annual migration will no longer have this resource for that migration and will hence likely see decimation of it's population. Decimation of it's population means that potentially hundreds of other plant species dependent on it for pollination along it's migratory path will no longer have a pollinator and continue to suffer, and those animal species which hunt it and it's eggs will also see a loss of a major food source.

You can't also simply assume that such species are headed towards extinction regardless, how do you know this? are you able to calculate a future of such species in the event that humans don't intervene? If so I'm sure many people would love to hear how you're able to understand the eventual outcome of such chaotic systems with such an unfathomable amount of parameters in. How do you know that instead of extinction that these species wont actually evolve to expand? how do you know that there isn't some regular but unknown event which happens on a long time scale we don't know about during which these animals thrive such that they're not just at a temporary low? how do you know these animals have zero impact on the survival of other species?

Most species are "super attached" to one thing or another, humans for example are far more dependent on things like water, than other species are - we can't last anywhere near as long without it as others and similarly we could be quite prone to being whiped out due to a change in the chemical constituency of our atmosphere where many other species would make it through. Neither of these things though is an argument that we should just do what we want even if it means making humanity extinct, because well, we shouldn't have become so super attached to things like water should we?

The point is that the loss of even the most specialised species in the world can potentially have a knock on effect on other species creating a cascading effect to the point it effects species we do actually give a shit about.

I'm not some kind of hardcore environmentalist that thinks we should try our hardest to preserve every living thing to the point we can, but an excuse that amounts to "well it doesn't matter if we whipe it out, it's a meaningless species and was going to die anyway" is so utterly ignorant that it doesn't belong on a site like Slashdot.

Just about every single thing you do when fucking around with nature to the degree of causing species extinction, no matter how irrelevant you think the species is is going to have some kind of negative effect. It's not just the simple loss of 17,000 toads, it's the loss of 17,000 toads, plus 10,000 animals that feed on them, plus the 5,000 that feed on them, and so on, coupled with the loss of any plants/species that were dependent on any effects on the environment of the toads which will often result in the loss of species which grow to much higher numbers (insects, fungus, bacteria) - the point being your 17,000 toads will almost always rapidly extend to be millions of lost living things both plants and animals.

They call it the web of life for a reason, in nature things never really happen in isolation with no impact anywhere else. You can never assume that the loss of one species is the loss of that species and nothing more, because that's never really the case.

Re:Hydroelectric, anyone? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41856989)

You can't also simply assume that such species are headed towards extinction regardless, how do you know this?

Let's use reason for starters.

First, there's no niche that will remain forever unchanging. So an organism that has evolved for that particular niche has to have an exit or it'll eventually go extinct. Either it moves on to some other environment, or it exchanges genes with compatible organisms in another environment.

And from looking through a history of invasive species onto Pacific islands, it appears that species which have evolved to compete in a big environment (such as rats in the wilds and towns of Europe), tend to eliminate species which had evolved to the niche environments of the islands.

Conversely, I see no evidence of species which evolved to a niche, expanding unless there is absolutely no competition (such as species which first colonized those Pacific Islands).

So yes, it sure looks to me like heavy specialization in a niche is some of a death sentence.

Re:Hydroelectric, anyone? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#41854027)

You left out one overwhelming benefit. If your rafting party is ever raped by crazed , inbred rednecks, you can use a damn lake to cover up the evidence.

Is the environment really wild.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851333)

If they have to create an "artificial" misting system?

Just sayin....

Re:Is the environment really wild.... (2)

tompaulco (629533) | about 2 years ago | (#41852577)

If they have to create an "artificial" misting system?
When humans go away, the toads will die, so I would say that still counts as "in captivity". If they want them to survive in the wild, they should find another similar environment and release them there. Of course, transporting species has historically led to bad consequences, so maybe it is best that we let nature take its course and let the species die out or adapt to its new dry surroundings (or move upstream).

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851431)

A habitat for toads? Isn't that what DC is all about?

Extinct? (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#41851511)

If the Zoo has a captive group of these toads then there not extinct, Exctinction:

extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms (taxon), normally a species.

Indangered yes, but not extinct.

Re:Extinct? (1)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 2 years ago | (#41851555)

Indangered yes

"Endangered," or "in danger," but not "indangered" :)

Re:Extinct? (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#41851617)

My bad! either way, not extinct.

Re:Extinct? (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41851767)

RTFA: "extinct int he wild"

Re:Extinct? (1)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 2 years ago | (#41852017)

RTFA: "extinct int he wild"

I think that's where I struggle as, to me, that's not possible - something is either extinct or not. Attempting to qualify extinction negates the meaning of extinction, to my understanding of term.

To me, it's a bit like saying "after surgery, he recovered from the fatal gunshot."

Re:Extinct? (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 2 years ago | (#41852117)

It's an official IUCN category, so it seems you've lost the fight.

Anyway, people have been referring to things being extinct in certain areas for ages. This [wikipedia.org] is a list of animals extinct from the UK.

Re:Extinct? (1)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 2 years ago | (#41852375)

It's an official IUCN category

Interesting - thanks!

so it seems you've lost the fight.

Perhaps more "been given some helpful information" — are conversations really fights?!

Re:Extinct? (1)

hesiod (111176) | about 2 years ago | (#41856403)

Perhaps more "been given some helpful information" — are conversations really fights?!

Them's fightin' words, buddy!

Re:Extinct? (1)

N!k0N (883435) | about 2 years ago | (#41855135)

The phrase "in the wild" is key here. Your homework assignment is to figure out why.

Re:Extinct? (1)

Imrik (148191) | about 2 years ago | (#41851745)

The wording used in the article (and the summary for that matter) is "extinct in the wild." The captive population would therefore not count. Whether the reintroduced population would count is debatable though.

Re:Extinct? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41852147)

Thats like calling you dead because you are dead in the future. Sometimes the act of using qualifying terminology undoes the terminology itself.

Re:Extinct? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 2 years ago | (#41852223)

No, this is like calling you dead because the only reason why you are still breathing is that you are hanging on a life support machine.

Re:Extinct? (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | about 2 years ago | (#41853197)

Not really. Someone who is on a life support machine isn't necessarily really alive. (You can have no appreciable brain activity and still be made to breathe, a la Terri Schiavo.) The frogs, on the other hand, are every bit as "not extinct" as they would be if they were placed anywhere else. Extinct means there are no examples of the species left. I assume the frogs would be extinct at some point if you put them back without the artificial misting in place, but they're not extinct now.

precursurers.. ribbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851513)

foool, you are the hand toad of our futures...

Extinct again (3, Insightful)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about 2 years ago | (#41851559)

I hope they keep a few captive, because otherwise they will go extinct again the first time that artificial mist breaks down (things tend to break in time, especially in the tropics).

Actually, a bit of googling told me this happened before in 2003 [nhm.ac.uk] .

"a human-engineered ecosystem"?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851645)

Oh, another type of zoo.

For some levels of "the wild" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851769)

"an artificial misting system that should allow toads to survive in the wild"

It's only mostly wild

Why reintroduce it there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851873)

Why not find somewhere close to that location that still has the same environment. A species dependent on another species technology means that when the Tea Party morons start screaming about the $1.95 out of their pockets every year to mist these frogs, the species dies to keep a bunch of idiots happy.

Re:Why reintroduce it there? (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | about 2 years ago | (#41853119)

I didn't see this post before I posted mine. I'd seriously love an answer to this question, though.

In the wild? (1)

jvkjvk (102057) | about 2 years ago | (#41852111)

When environments are artificially sustained, we no longer call them "wild".

Unless this is some twist on humans being considered as just part of nature.

But that kind of removes the utility of the word, no?

At best this is an unbounded zoo in that without maintenance by the zoo keepers the frogs would just die off. Now if they had recreated a sustainable environment and left the frogs there (as opposed to having to continue to induce an environment) then one might be able to say they had been reintroduced 'in the wild'.

Why put them back there? (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | about 2 years ago | (#41853111)

I understand the desire to re-establish the species in the wild, but why put them back there? There must be other environments where they would get the misting naturally. Right?

Re:Why put them back there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41853457)

But there probably aren't other misty environments with no species to be impacted by placement of an exotic toad. This sort of thinking is what causes the massive global problem with invasive species.

Re:Why put them back there? (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | about 2 years ago | (#41854773)

And how does that prevent the toad from interfering with other species?

If that's the concern, they shouldn't introduce the toad back. What about the other species that were doing just fine when the toads were removed and/or better off without the toads?

It's simply not possible for us to "help" one species without impacting another. Attempts like this, unless they're done in the spirit of "just because we can" (which would at least have scientific value, to see if it can be done) are silly, at best, and possibly reckless.

Humans impact our environment, just like any other species. We should stop trying to undo what impact we have, because our attempts are probably only going to make things worse. Unlike natural selection, which works reliably, we have no idea WTF we're doing.

Seriously? (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 2 years ago | (#41853607)

Seriously? Artificial misting systems for a toad? How many children died of hunger last year, 10 million?

Re:Seriously? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#41854043)

If this breeding program works, we can feed them the toads.

Re:Seriously? (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 2 years ago | (#41855017)

Seriously? Artificial misting systems for a toad? How many children died of hunger last year, 10 million?

  If this breeding program works, we can feed them the toads.

You left out "to." Should read "...we can feed them *to* the toads." Much better outcome all around.

PS OK I give up: how the heck do I close a "quote" tag?" less-than,backslash,quote fails.

Re:Seriously? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#41855943)

This is how I quote:

<quote>Paste quoted text here</quote>

Then continue my message...

ignore (1)

Rogue Pat (749565) | about 2 years ago | (#41855129)

posting to undo moderation
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