Reflection - Carl Potter

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Information about Reflection - Carl Potter

Published on March 15, 2014

Author: tylerisaacmurphy


Carl Potter! Reflections on KP2! ! ! Introduction! ! ! ! The Odyssey of KP2 is a case study of a seal that helps to give insight into the larger problem of endangered species and the degradation of the environment. This broad topic does concern me and I do think it is a significant issue and will continue to be for years. Gaining insight into the amount of time and resources involved in this effort is very important to preserving the environment. On the other hand in the Odyssey of KP2 I was put off by the extensive amount of time and money that was being put into this one animal that was going blind. At the same time appreciated the opportunity to get a first hand account of this endangered animals life through the journal of a scientist and not a book with an obvious bias and an agenda. So to say I had mixed feelings about the topics brought up in the book is an understatement.! ! Personal Experiences! ! ! The issue of environmental conservation is important to me, I grew up on an island in southeast Alaska where marine conservation clashed with people trying to make a living from the sea’s resources. I can see how community tensions could build when it comes to an issue that impacts people’s ability to make a living and people’s concern for the environment. This conflict was not a local issue, it was and is a state issue that continues today concerning everything from respecting Native Alaskans to determining whats worth protecting. I saw quite a few similar issues arise in the story of KP2 and it reminded me that these issues don’t get solved easily or overnight.! ! ! KP2’s story gives me mixed feelings in the sense that I approve of we should do what we can to rescue a species we are responsible for putting on the endangered species list but it should be done in a effective way. Rescuing, relocating, and protecting endangered species was always impressed upon me as being very important as I was

growing up, however The Odyssey of KP2 gives the impression that the seal was more of a pet. I thought this loss of focus on preserving a species was unprofessional. The author was always looking after the seal and its species interests but the amount of time spent on everyone becoming friends with the seal became excessive.! ! ! While I acknowledge the differences between KP2’s story and the examples I grew up with I still am uncomfortable with the way KP2’s case was handled. KP2 is a rare case where a seal bonded with humans almost from birth yet I still feel that this is not a reason to treat him so differently from other cases of rescued pups. The whole Odyssey seems excessive when in the end he comes full circle and settles where he started back in Hawaii. I felt that the only factor that begins to justify the way his case was handled is the fact that he became a mascot and symbol of the need for increased conservation efforts and awareness. ! ! The Book! ! ! My opinion of KP2’s story changed gradually from the beginning to the end of the book. I thought it was reasonable to rescue an endangered seal pup and re-habilitate it to be released back into the wild. I thought it was reasonable when KP2 was transported to a lab where more could be learned about the species in order to aid in conservation. At first there was a very professional approach to dealing with KP2 and trying to find ways to make him comfortable and get him to eat. The science team maintained a serious approach and did not try to domesticate him and treated him like a wild animal. ! ! ! My opinion really started to change when staff begin to overly buddy up with KP2 and spend more time and money on this one seal. There is also very little mention of scientific advancement thanks to KP2, whether it was omitted from the book or not that was one of the main reasons for the seal being at the lab. This seemed to be counterproductive in terms of conservation efforts, the resources seemed like they could have been spread out more evenly whether at the lab or with other conservation

projects. I felt like this was the point where the staff lost focus and the level of professionalism dropped. The scientist team seemed to have lost there objectivity which bothers me as a scientist that they would lose focus like that.! ! ! This extra effort was somewhat justified in the end when KP2 became a mascot and teaching tool for conservation which brought in more resources to conservation efforts and raised awareness. This future however was not known until near the very end of the book, this wasn’t a goal for the lab or the science team throughout KP2’s life. The team just happened to have a rare case where the animal they had been working with was a spirit animal in Hawaii and also adorable. This kind of bias still seems very unprofessional to me and just because it worked out does not justify the handling of this one case.! ! Conclusions! ! ! I do believe that in the end KP2’s story did affect me in a positive way, his published story and his role as a mascot for conservation efforts significantly helps conservation efforts which is a world wide issue that affects us all. I am concerned about marine conservation and if a cute seal can raise awareness then I think he is important. Marine conservation is fairly well funded in coastal area’s but receives little to no attention from people who live even slightly inland. The Odyssey of KP2 can reach people who would normally never give it much thought even though they love sushi.! ! ! In conclusion I did relate to the larger affects The Odyssey of KP2 has on creating awareness for marine protection and conservation. I think if a group of scientists and one seal can have far reaching effects then it is worthwhile to pay attention and learn from their examples. That way we can think of other effective ways to make needed changes. In terms of the story of KP2 himself and his journey I really was pretty indifferent, there are examples like this all over the world. If KP2 had been an endangered fish or snail there would have been no story or interest. ! !

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