Compassionate conservation: a paradigm shift for wildlife management in Australasia

The University of Chicago Press
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Ignoring Nature No More: the case for compassionate conservation, 2013, 1, pp. 295 - 315
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Humans directly and indirectly impact on the lives of wild animals, primarily by altering landscapes through the removal of habitat for human dwelling or resource production (e.g. agriculture, mining, forestry) (Mathews 2010), but also through changes to the quality of remaining landscapes (e.g. roads, chemical and noise pollution, disease, stress) (Fraser and MacRae 2011). The lives of wild animals are further impacted in the management of remaining natural habitat and human-occupied land (e.g. production landscapes, urban remnants) where wild animals still reside. Wildlife management stems from the need to control species that impinge on human lives and/or livelihood (i.e. where species are defined as pests) or where some form of ecological dysfunction results in what is perceived as an imbalance that requires intervention (i.e. for some higher conservation objective). The subjective and anthropocentric nature of wildlife management, particularly where it relates to the reduction of pest or `overabundant species, was recognized by Graeme Caughley (1981). As the human population expands and demands more land and resources, the separation of clear conservation goals from the need to protect human livelihoods is likely to prove increasingly difficult. Although the welfare concerns of wild animals have been treated as an unimportant consideration in the development of environmental law and policy, there is considerable benefit in joining animal welfare science and animal conservation science to assist in wildlife management policy. Indeed, under the banner of compassionate conservation, a new paradigm for wildlife management beckons, one where nature has a voice in environmental policy and is no longer ignored.
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