Adrian Treves, Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila, and William S. Lynn, Just preservation


Treves et al. (2019) argue that individual organisms should be protected by the courts. This already happens in many countries for rare and endangered species and for symbolically important species (e.g., raptors, songbirds, and bats in the U.S.), and through the international treaty for whales. But protection of these individuals stems from a focus on preserving their populations, whereas hunting of individuals is still a culturally accepted practice. Killing of individuals should be limited to valid reasons (e.g., eating the meat) and covered by fair-chase and humane-killing laws (which is not always the case). But “futurity” will not inherit present-day individuals. What we owe them are healthy populations and species, and functioning, diverse biotic systems. Conservation biology is already rightly focused on this holistic view. Finally, empowerment of women and reform of economic systems will do more to stem the loss of biodiversity than adjudication beyond that already in service of protecting vulnerable species.

Author Biography

Brad Bergstrom is Professor of Biology at Valdosta State University. His research interests are in higher vertebrate ecology and conservation. Website