Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Couple of Quotes For Your Consideration

The quote below was used in the Ghost Bird documentary about the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. While the quote was used within the context of the search for this legendary bird, I think it applies nicely to all rare and elusive animals. I think it also points out the difficulties faced by those who search for, as yet, undocumented species like the sasquatch.

"Thinly spread forest creatures, with very large areas within which they might be scattered, are destined to remain phantoms. Their existence will always be extremely challenging to confirm; their extinction will be essentially impossible to establish."

- Bill Pulliam

The quote doesn't seem to hold out much hope that the existence of these creatures will ever be positively established. While I agree that the obstacles of discovery, or rediscovery as the case may be, are formidable, I continue to believe it is possible; however, much time and hard work are going to be required.

Field research is usually not pleasant. Rare is the day in the field that is easy. It seems it is either boiling hot or terribly cold. Mosquitoes and other biting/stinging insects are ever present. Venomous snakes thrive in the spots we frequent in the search for these cryptids. Often, searchers are even assaulted on a microscopic level by parasites like Giardia lamblia, Naegleria fowler, and Lyme disease. I haven't even touched on the expense that comes into play. Video cameras, audio recorders, camera traps, batteries, wear and tear on vehicles, and fuel costs all add up quickly. The quote below captures, in a wonderfully understated manner, the difficulties faced by the intrepid field biologist/researcher.

" in the field has nothing to do with dignity or with anything except patience, concentration, and eternal vigilance...”

- William Beebe

I hope those who continually criticize those who, against the odds, continue to search for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, the sasquatch, and other rare and elusive creatures will stop and consider the difficulties these people face. It is dirty and potentially dangerous work. At the very least, the sincerity of the searchers should never be questioned. Nobody would participate in this type of work without truly thinking documentation was possible.

Believe me, I know.

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