Razorback sucker: Extinguished and fundamentally wrong?
The director of an independent native fish research lab questions the morality of endangered species.
Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 03:16
While staying at my parents house in Tulsa, Okla., I have had the chance to read the magazines that come to their house. This week, a volume of "High Country News" ("For people who care about the West") showed up at the front door. On the cover was a picture of a very unattractive and slimy-looking fish, a razorback sucker. Intrigued, I read the article which revealed to me the news that the razorback sucker is a rapidly dwindling fish that is native to the west. Native to the Colorado River, scientists believe that there are only 50 of these fish alive today. In the mid 1980s, up to 70,000 razorbacks lived in the same river. The building of many dams throughout the river as well as the introduction of foreign species of fish are the suspected causes of the decline in razorback suckers.
Paul Marsh, a man who heads a research group that is trying to save the razorback suckers, says, "I love these fish. I want my children, my grandchildren, to have an opportunity to love these fish the way I do. They were a remarkable creation of Mother Nature. For us, as a species, to allow these animals to be extinguished is fundamentally wrong. It's a philosophical thing."
So this article leaves me wondering: is it fundamentally wrong to let a species go extinct? Or, are we really a continuously evolving and changing planet in which some species just don't make it?