Today in a message to DesertLeps@yahoogroups.com
Bob Pyle explained why he and the Xerces Society do not support the project:
From: Bob Pyle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [DesertLeps] Re: Washington releases
Date: July 4, 2012 1:14:40 AM PDT
Dr. James's project involves prison-reared monarchs bred from wild stock captured in northern California. Xerces declined to support it because, though well thought out, it is not consistent with the Society's release policy. Dr. James is a friend and colleague and a superb scientist, author of many papers on monarchs in Australia and co-author of the splendid new book on the life histories of Cascadian butterflies. I tried to look at the positive aspects of the project, including the obvious social benefits from the inmates' involvement, and possible illumination of nectar corridors worthy of protection. However, I cannot support the overall project. While these northern Cal. monarchs may indeed have been bound for Washington ultimately, at least some of them, they still occlude recording of natural events and prevent evaluation of how the Washington population would do this year unassisted. David and I disagree as to whether these imports represent perfect surrogates for natural arrivals. Clearly they're better than farmed monarchs from deep in California; but they are still transfers, with the liabilities that that state implies. I hope something good will come of it, but I feel it is unfortunate that Dr. James found it necessary to bring in monarchs from out of state to accomplish his goals. That's all I have to say about this situation.