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4 Things to Know About Wildlife Conservation and Research
The biggest problem facing wildlife today is the ever-burgeoning human population. With a growing rate of 200,000 humans born every day, planet Earth is groaning under the strain of housing us all. The pressure on our natural resources is exponential. We’re losing biodiversity, and the changing climate will be impacting wildlife in ways we’re only beginning to foresee.
Therefore, scientists are under ever-growing pressure to find pragmatic solutions to conservation problems. Scientific research is an essential tool in advising politicians and other lawmakers.
1) The human-animal balance is widely misinterpreted.
- Preservation of both species and species diversity.
- Animal welfare, primarily the welfare of wildlife in captivity.
Environmental education is designed to expand awareness of promoting conservation, and changing attitudes toward preserving the environment. Public attitude tends to lean toward preservation-at-all-costs, which often leads to inappropriate and even dangerous trends, such as the release of invasive species into a foreign environment. A good example of this is the influx of pet boa constrictors set free in the Florida everglades.
Public attitude plays a significant role in the policies concerning wildlife management. Therefore, it’s important that the public is educated and given current information that is as objective as possible. For this to happen, people need to understand the longstanding and complex relationship between wildlife and humans.
2) We became who we are by eating animals.
Wildlife started off as food. Prehistoric man evolved in part by eating meat, and the consumed proteins resulted in the evolution of a large and developed human brain. Between this and the strategy required in hunting and tracking, we got smarter along the way. The practice of eating cooked meat changed the shape of our teeth and jaws, cranium, and rostrum. We grew strong and physically fit due to the required activity of stalking and killing prey animals.
Most people don’t think about the fact that animals, besides providing food, have been a source of clothing for millions of years. As wildlife was domesticated and farmed, animals have provided materials from leather, to milk, to eggs, and other types of protein. Once humans learned to domesticate animals and stabilize our lifestyle, the physical evolution of the human became relatively unchanged.
3) We owe medical advancement to wildlife.
Humans survived thanks in part to advancements in medicine. For centuries, animals have been used in medical research, contributing secretions and other materials that became modes of treatment and experimentation.
Because we have always been interconnected with wildlife, it’s important not to separate animals from humans, whether on a scientific, cultural, or moral basis.
With this in mind, wildlife conservation was born.
4) There’s a difference between animal rights and animal welfare.
The concept of absolute wildlife conservation, or animal rights, is one that demands the survival of all wildlife, including an end to hunting. This is not the same as scientific conservation, or animal welfare. Science-based studies maintain that animals must hunt for species to survive, and since we have upset the predatory balance, the population of prey animals must be kept in balance in other ways.
The dominance of social media has created a channel for misinformation to spread. Therefore, it’s important that scientific information is made available through reliable sources, including blogs, news outlets, and other media.
For wildlife to be protected, it’s important for the scientific community to reach the public, spreading information with frequency and through as many channels as possible.