Veterinarians and Taxonomic Chauvinism: The Dilemma of Parasite Conservation

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:Pizzi, R
Journal:Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine
Pagination:279 - 282
Date Published:Jan-10-2009
Keywords:Conservation, ethics, Parasites, veterinary, wildlife

Preservation of biodiversity is one of the fundamental objectives of conservation. Animal conservation programs, however, tend to be dominated by charismatic vertebrate species. Many parasites are highly specialized, having evolved to depend on a single species and may be rarer and hence more endangered than their specific hosts. The phenomenon of coextinction, in which there is the loss of affiliated species such as parasites, needs consideration if conservation is not to fall victim to taxonomic chauvinism. Broad-spectrum antiparasitic drugs when used in free-living wildlife can have an effect on nontargeted species and the wider ecosystem. It is also recognized that parasites may have a role to play in the normal functioning of a host’s immune system when the two have coevolved over an extended period of time. Although the concept of parasite conservation is in itself controversial, this is further complicated when deciding to which areas of conservation medicine it should apply. © 2009 Published by Elsevier Inc.

Short Title:Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine
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