Friday, September 24, 2010

Duck Stamps

As you'll discover there are numerous functions for this blog. A place to put links to research we discuss in class. A place to post internships and volunteer opportunities. A place to post links to recent news articles of relevance. A place to post examples I take out of lecture due to time. Furthermore I keep discovering further uses. Now I give you - the perfect example I thought of immediately after lecture.

When talking about the influence of hunting on Conservation in the US I should have used the duck stamp as an example. As some of you may know the duck stamp although produced by the U.S. Postal Service are not valid for postage but act as federal licenses required by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for hunting migratory waterfowl.

To date the duck stamps, currently $15, have raised more than $750 million. I'll repeat that, $750 MILLION, that has been used to buy 5.2 million acres of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Whether you agree with hunting or not you cannot disagree with the fact that this is an important source of  funding for wetland conservation in the United States. In fact the Fish and Wildlife Service Website claims that 'Conservationists buy Federal Duck Stamps because they know that the stamps are, dollar for dollar, one of the best investments one can make in the future of America’s wetlands'. I'd be interested to see what data they have on that but they do claim that:
Ninety-eight cents out of every dollar generated by the sales of Federal Duck Stamps goes directly to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System. 

Personally I don't have a huge problem with hunting. I don't hunt myself but I kind of get the whole deer hunt thing. Or at least I enjoyed the movie. But duck hunting? I find ducks very amusing. They seem like the most cartoonish of the birds. Hunting ducks just seems wrong. Maybe that's just me. But then again all that duck hunting has raised three quarters of a BILLION dollars for conservation (98% of which has gone to purchase wildlife refuges). Meaning lots more ducks. Yay.

I told you this class wouldn't be black and white. Unlike the Bufflehead Duck (Bucephala albeola). C'mon could you honestly shoot this guy? Oh wait, apparently some people can. Hopefully they bought a duck stamp or three..

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