Differentiating Between Regulation and Hunting as Conservation Interventions
July 3, 2019
Protecting biodiversity requires that we correctly identify major threats and effective interventions to abate them (Salafsky & Margoluis 2003; Sutherland et al. 2004). If the scientific community wants the world to heed our warnings of ecosystem collapse (Ripple et al. 2017), we should be aware of past warnings and current misunderstandings. A century ago, similar alarms sounded over extinctions of wild animals taken for commercial meat markets (Roosevelt 1916). The near-extinction averted in the early 20th century provides useful contemporary lessons (Figure 1). Then, over-hunting threatened the persistence of multiple species and the public policy intervention replaced commercial extraction with regulatory systems. Regulated hunting seems to have saved wildlife from extinction by limiting methods, participants, and quantities taken by hunters and trappers. Yet, the observation that regulation saved wild animals of western nations is persistently being misrepresented (as we describe below) and replaced in the scientific and management literature by an implicit assertion that hunting itself was the intervention.
Author(s): Adrian Treves, Kyle A. Artelle, Paul C. Paquet