“Life is seen through many prisms in Christopher Marley’s Biophilia…”It’s all part of a marvelous display, one that silences any notion that the natural vessel is worthless after death.”
All vertebrates I use are reclaimed. When organisms die in the care of the institutions or individuals dedicated to their husbandry, they can either be disposed of or they can be preserved and incorporated into lasting tributes to their masterful design. I have always believed that the latter is greatly preferable to rotting away in a landfill.
Aquariums, quarantine facilities, museums, importers, breeders and others have entrusted me with their most treasured charges. It is a weighty undertaking to create from them works that are worthy of the vibrance they add to the natural world.
Occasionally, in the case of some oceanic organisms, fishing vessel bycatch is a reclamation source. These are specimens that are unintentionally caught, usually by trawlers, and then are either discarded or sold to fish markets. I believe many such specimens have far greater aesthetic than culinary value. It is my contention that ensuring they can inspire for generations through their preservation is a far more worthy end than their immediate consumption.
The Ecology of Insects
Insect conservation and ecology, however, is approached wholly differently.
For terrestrial invertebrate populations, habitat contamination or development and host plant decimation pose the only major human threats. The challenge in the areas of threatened habitats is to balance the needs of local people with the other organisms that need the same environment in which to thrive. Insect collecting helps offer native people an economic incentive to preserve local habitats by helping them to make their living through the collection of a renewable, sustainable forest resource.
Responsible insect collecting not only has no measurably negative effect on insect populations, but it offers an alternative to ranching or farming for often impoverished people with few options for sustenance other than working the land. When people are able to make their living from a healthy forest, the pressure to develop that land is reversed and those who might have joined industry that is destructive to habitat become champions of its preservation.
“The biggest threat to scarabs is not insect hobbyists but loss of habitat as tropical forests are converted into farms. We believe that regulated beetle collecting by local people— and in time beetle farming—could actually help slow this process. It has been successful elsewhere with butterflies and other insects.”
National Geographic Magazine