Classroom Resources: Do No Harm

By Mark Jerome Walters
October-December 2006 (Vol. 7, No. 4)

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Discussion Questions

  1. What are critical pieces of information biologists must collect in the field prior to initiating a recovery program?
  2. If a recovery program involves captive breeding and reintroduction, under what conditions should biologists remove viable adults from the wild? Why do you suppose the ‘alala researchers did not consider the option of removing eggs, sooner?
  3. What is the National Research Council? Why is it important to have independent outside review? How did this review benefit the Hawaiian raven recovery program?
  4. What is meant by “Do No Harm”? After reading the article and supporting documents (below), how do you think the biologists could have approached the conservation problem with less harm to the ‘alala?

Websites for Further Information

Captive Breeding and Reintroduction in the News

Peer-reviewed Literature

  • Scott J.M., Kepler C.B., van Riper III C, Fefer, S.I. 1988. Conservation of Hawaii’s Vanishing Avifauna: Hawaiian Birds Provide One of the Best, and Most Spectacular, Showcases of Divergent Evolution. Bioscience 38 (1) 238-253.
  • Sakai H.F., Ralph C.J., Jenkins C.D. 1986. Foraging Ecology of the Hawaiian Crow, an Endangered Generalist. Condor 88 (2) 211-219.

Key Concepts

  • Captive breeding and reintroduction
  • Hubris and conservation
  • Hawaiian biodiversity
  • Ornithology
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