Privatising Animal Species May Be The Only Way To Save Them, Scientists Say
Species of animals are disappearing at an alarming rate in the world today, there’s no way around that. And the primary reason for why that happens is us, humans. And the real reason for why we’re doing it is because we don’t care; not really. It has a lot to do with how our brains are functioning. We still see animals in the world, on TV, in photos, and we are wishfully thinking that things are not as bad as they seem.
Anyway, even if we want to accept it or not, we are going through a planetary mass extinction of species seen only five other times in the planet’s entire 4.3 billion years of history. And given this extinction’s extraordinary rarity, it is no wonder we’re not really believing we’re causing it; but we are. And even if we come to grips with the situation, we could also believe that we could reverse it somehow. Maybe; just maybe.
We are not going to tell you now, just how badly things are at the moment because we’re fairly certain you’ve been inundated with these reports for some time now and you, more or less, know about where we currently are. Instead, we will focus on a solution that, according to the way we humans currently view the world and everything in it, might just actually work. And that solution is to make wild animals into a business.
It is a well-known fact for everyone that a thing becomes far more interesting and people give it far more attention if it’s individually and directly profitable from a material perspective; you know – money. Now, it goes without saying that animal and plant species are a sound investment for humanity regardless of the direct infusion of cash they give us, but we don’t quite see it like that.
Wild Animals Species Inc.
This is why George Wilson, an adjunct professor at the Australian National University, has published a paper in the Conservation Letters journal, proposing Australia to take the example of some south African countries where the governments have given landowners the rights to the wild animal species living there.
Since the late 1960’s, countries like Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana have, at varying levels and intervals, given people legal control over the animals that inhabited their lands. So, basically what those governments are doing is to shift the responsibility of regulating and safeguarding hunting, fishing, eco-tourism, and wildlife as a whole from it to the citizens.
And even though it might seem a bit counterintuitive at first, leaving pretty much anyone in charge of such a thing, it actually makes a lot of sense. Because when wild animal species, and the environment with them, are considered a public good and in the care of the government, the wide public doesn’t feel at all incentivized to help. But is they see material profits in keeping the ecosystem as pristine as possible and making use of eco-tourism, hunting, fishing and the like, people will see it their business to keeping it going by constantly investing in it.
Now, given southern Africa’s economic situation, you would think that a policy like that would have a tremendously negative impact on the environment, but it hasn’t. You would believe that, given a free reign, people would exploit these animals as much as possible and driving them to extinction. They could also hoard only a single, highly-prised species and then demand large sums of money for people to see them. All of these, of course, are a possibility, but that’s not what happened in Africa.
In an article published in 2000, it was estimated that somewhere around 20% of all ranches in the before-mentioned African countries were involved, at least in part, in wildlife tourism. The article also estimated about 63% of all giraffes and 56% of all cheetahs in the area were found here on these ranches.
George Wilson also specifies that today in South Africa wildlife species are being traded between landowners in order to populate their own properties and establish new populations in the process. There are even wildlife auctions where national parks sell animals, thus helping them get funding. What has happened there, in essence, is that the region now has more wild animals than it had 100 years ago. And while the rest of Africa’s wild animals are disappearing, these countries see an increase in their population.
Now, if this doesn’t seem like the best solution, it’s because it isn’t – it’s a compromise. But given the way things are now, it is possibly the best solution we have for this desperate situation.