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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 05-07-2024, 07:13 PM   #1
Martin Nowak
Human-Snake Conflicts Increase with Climate Change

The University of Washington last year posted a newsfeed about “Human-Wildlife Conflicts Rising Worldwide with Climate Change”. February 27, 2023
The Lancet – Planetary Health focused on human-snake conflicts, geographic range extensions, decline of some native snakes, and increased dangers to low-income populations as a result. They used predictive modeling applied to venomous species across countries, continents, and regions. March 2024.
“We built species distribution models based on the geographical distribution of 209 medically relevant venomous snake species (WHO categories 1 and 2) and present climatic variables, and used these models to project the potential distribution of species in 2070.”
Inside Climate News picked up on both reports and wrote their introduction and comments. This introduction also mentions the possibility of python meat being commercialized for human consumption. May 7, 2024. (Also see FC Herps in the News April 24, 2024)

The Lancet report is particularly interesting and intriguing.

There are a number of thought-provoking aspects to these reports.
As climate induced geographic ranges of species expand, how long does it take for a species to then become “native” versus “introduced”?
If species expand their range by their own volition, are they then “self-introduced”?
If species expand their range by climate change, are they “climate-introduced”?
Or perhaps “Self-invasive”? “Climate-invasive”?
(If mastodons are “resurrected via DNA”, are they “native, re-introduced, feral, etc.? Or perhaps “lab-introduced”? Or “university-introduced”?)

Dare I say that climate-introduced species will offer the next generations of kids and adults renewed opportunities to field collect, road-cruise, and captive maintain / breed such species?
Old 05-07-2024, 08:58 PM   #2
Socratic Monologue
Originally Posted by Martin Nowak View Post
If species expand their range by their own volition, are they then “self-introduced”?
If species expand their range by climate change, are they “climate-introduced”?
Or perhaps “Self-invasive”? “Climate-invasive”?
(If mastodons are “resurrected via DNA”, are they “native, re-introduced, feral, etc.? Or perhaps “lab-introduced”? Or “university-introduced”?)

Dare I say that climate-introduced species will offer the next generations of kids and adults renewed opportunities to field collect, road-cruise, and captive maintain / breed such species?
I have always understood (not in light of any formal definition, but simply by how I tend to see the terms used) that 'introduced' means something like 'transferred by intentional or inadvertent human behaviors'. So, intentional introductions whether done with good or ill intent; the various sorts of accidental introductions that are a side effect of human activity (snakes on planes to Guam; critters in imported potted plants; bugs on imported wood products; geckos in Polynesian sailing canoes).

So there doesn't seem to be reason to call natural expansion of range to be an introduction (so they can't be 'self-introduced'), unless that expansion is crucially due to something that is not in fact natural. If we run a river dry, and that enables a species to cross the river and get established on the other side where it previously did not inhabit, that might count as an 'introduced species'. One problem is is that I don't suspect there would be many legitimately natural range extensions, at least on a time scale that we're going to see now. We've pretty much taken over doing all the changes on the planet.

The mastodon example is interesting. There might be an analogy with the "rewilding" of horses in the American West (which I know very little about, to be honest), and if so I would expect no consensus on the mastodon situation if that would come to pass.

I like the term 'climate-invasive' -- just seems accurate, and shifts the blame a little but not entirely.
Old 05-07-2024, 09:28 PM   #3
Martin Nowak
John - all good comments. Of course I feel compelled to be a bit provocative in my posts.
Hmm - the terms are a bit confusing ... or at least used in different contexts. If we expand from snakes to critters in general - I think many examples of non-human but animal mediated introductions. What about a flood washing a group of critters downstream or across stream where they historically didn't exist? Aside from how many are needed to establish a population - I have witnessed birds of prey drop live snakes. Or ticks riding a mammal to a new territory. While a prion, CWD has been geographically expanding via deer, elk, reindeer, and moose. Bird flu - a virus - has expanded geographic range via birds. There are likely a number of animals that have been introduced by other animals or "acts of God".
I agree with you on new nomenclature which I propose - "climate introduced" and "climate invasive" would seem appropriate for these circumstances. At least we keep the reptile keepers out of this blame game.
Old 05-07-2024, 10:07 PM   #4
Socratic Monologue
No criticism from me on the provocative aspect of the posts.

Great examples of the natural range extensions. The pathogen cases are particularly powerful, and that's a type I didn't consider. We'd have to look at each specific case, of course, and then try to figure out how much of an effect human activity had on each (floods are related to climate to some degree; I would expect tick ranges have some connection to temperatures, and to wildlife population species and numbers and distributions; CWD is at least partially affected by hunting practices such as selective harvest by age, and baiting strategies). But you're right, it isn't the same as a gecko traveling a thousand miles over ocean only because of Polynesian wayfinders.

Yes, I'm not sure the blame even helps no matter who it is placed on. Best to just figure out how to make things the best we can and go from there.
Old 05-08-2024, 11:55 PM   #5
The manmade climate change cult will try to show linkage from any natural weather event to their idiotic klepto money grabbing agenda....From natural animal behavior to burping /flatulating cattle...."Rumin8" et al
Their agenda is to strip us all of everything we own while deep state AI surveillance of everything we do....
This is the true goal of the "manmade Climate Change," agenda....To enslave civilization...

They elites are relentless in their pursuit of the dystopia they envision...Mankind reduced to a vestigial existence,,,While they/eltes enrich themselves by unlimited scale...Parasitical bloodsucking of the masses...
Old 05-17-2024, 11:01 AM   #6
Martin Nowak
John, re: "self introduced" and other terms ....
see this report of "wind introduced" ... then established . Are these insects then to be considered "new and ultimately native" ? Mother Nature has a way of participating in natural introductions, hybridization of species, and so forth. Were the winds man caused climatic factors? Or just normal or unique circumstances of the insects and winds combining to disperse critters in new geographic locations?
Old 05-17-2024, 01:00 PM   #7
Socratic Monologue
That's an interesting article (as is the linked PeerJ paper). I wonder if it would have been possible to confirm the wind hypothesis by finding genetic evidence of those insects' origin (I'm not sure if insects have localized populations that can be genetically identified).

I see some of tension in the phrase 'new and ultimately native' that makes me think that the word 'native' is a little problematic; 'native' implies that the organism was there "from the beginning" ('native' is ultimately from Latin 'natus' = birth), and so it can't be new. Anyway, no organisms are where they are from the beginning (universe, 13.8 bya? Earth, 4.5 bya? life, 3.7 bya? K-T event, 66 mya?), so the word is sloppy in general.

Instead of 'native' vs 'introduced', maybe something like 'natural range' vs 'anthropogenic range' would be more accurate, since what we're trying to get at -- I think -- is the (artificial) distinction between natural processes and human processes. 'Introduced' isn't a great term anyway; it means 'drawn into', which doesn't specify how it was drawn in (whether by humans or wind or space aliens or the Flying Spaghetti Monster). The word 'native' has accumulated a fair amount of cultural baggage, too, and wrestling with that is maybe best simply avoided.

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