Private, For-Profit Environmentalism

I toured a commercial seahorse farm here in Hawaii this afternoon.  It was really an interesting tale, of a couple who saw a problem with the over-catching of wild seahorses and attacked it with a private farming effort.  Not only has private seahorse farming cut the capture of wild seahorses for pets almost to zero, it also produces a better pet (their seahorses born in captivity are taught to eat dead shrimp rather than live food, they live much longer than wild seahorses, and they are easier to breed).  Kudos to these folks.  I love seeing private action solving environmental issues, and their story gets me interested again in the many proposals to allow ownership of tigers and rhinos in private farms to save those species.  Their website is here, and if you are in the market for a pet seahorse, I highly recommend their product. 

  The biggest threat to seahorses is the same one faced by rhinos and tigers:  The huge Asian market for fertility drugs based on these animals.  Generally, any animal included in Asian folks wisdom as improving sex in some way is on the fast track to endangered status.  I am hoping that Viagra may turn out to be a savior for these species, as a substitute, in the same way John D. Rockefeller saved the whales in the 19th century with cheap kerosene.  Maybe the Sierra Club should take some of the huge funds they allocate to paying off Congressmen for more regulations and direct it to Viagra donations to China.


  1. Corky Boyd:

    Yikes, I thought Viagra had solved the problem of endangered rhinos, black bear and seahorses. Surely it is more effective. Do the Asians still think rhino horn works better? Doesn't Pfizer have sales reps in China?

  2. Technomad:

    As I understand it, it's not so much China, proper, as places like Hong Kong and Southeast Asia that are the problem.

  3. Kyle Bennett:

    "I thought Viagra had solved the problem of endangered rhinos, black bear.... "

    The problem is getting them to take it. Ever tried to stuff a pill into a rhino's or a bear's mouth? Never mind forcing them to swallow it. And you'd better run far away before it takes effect.

  4. Eric H:

    Actually, according to the Pfizer website, the main ingredients in Viagra are seahorse bladders, tigers penises, and rhino horn.


  5. markm:

    Well, gee, why would people prefer a sex stimulant that actually works over ancestral superstitions?

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