Sustainable Utilisation Of Wildlife Not So Sustainable
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Why Sustainable Utilisation of Wildlife Is Not So Sustainable
Sustainable utilisation of wildlife is a concept that advocates for the use of wild animals and plants in a way that does not compromise their long-term survival and ecological role. It is often promoted as a conservation strategy that benefits both people and nature. However, is this concept really sustainable in practice
In this article, we will explore some of the challenges and limitations of sustainable utilisation of wildlife, and why it may not be as effective as it seems.
The Problems with Sustainable Utilisation of Wildlife
While sustainable utilisation of wildlife may sound appealing in theory, it faces many practical difficulties and risks in reality. Some of these include:
Lack of reliable data and monitoring. It is often hard to determine the population size, distribution, and dynamics of wild animals and plants, especially in remote and inaccessible areas. This makes it difficult to set appropriate quotas and limits for their use, and to detect and prevent overexploitation and illegal trade.
Conflicts of interest and corruption. Many stakeholders involved in the utilisation of wildlife have vested interests and incentives to maximise their profits and benefits, regardless of the ecological and social costs. This can lead to corruption, bribery, fraud, and collusion among poachers, traders, officials, and consumers, undermining the enforcement and compliance of regulations and laws.
Unintended consequences and externalities. The utilisation of wildlife can have negative impacts on other species, habitats, ecosystems, and human communities that are not accounted for or compensated. For example, hunting can disrupt the natural balance of predators and prey, affect the genetic diversity and health of populations, and increase the risk of disease transmission and zoonotic outbreaks. Similarly, harvesting can degrade the quality and quantity of habitats, reduce the availability of resources for other species, and alter the ecosystem functions and services.
Social and ethical issues. The utilisation of wildlife can raise ethical questions about the intrinsic value and rights of non-human animals, as well as the cultural and spiritual significance of wildlife for indigenous and local people. It can also create social conflicts and inequalities among different groups over the access, ownership, management, and distribution of benefits from wildlife resources.
The Alternatives to Sustainable Utilisation of Wildlife
Given the challenges and limitations of sustainable utilisation of wildlife, what are some of the alternatives that can achieve conservation goals without compromising the well-being of wildlife and people Some of these include:
Protected areas and community-based conservation. Protected areas are areas that are designated and managed for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. They can provide refuge and habitat for wildlife, as well as opportunities for ecotourism, education, research, and recreation. Community-based conservation is an approach that involves local people in the decision-making and management of natural resources, recognising their rights, knowledge, values, and livelihoods.
Demand reduction and behaviour change. Demand reduction is a strategy that aims to reduce the demand for wildlife products by influencing the attitudes, beliefs, norms, preferences, and behaviours of consumers. It can involve awareness campaigns, education programs, social marketing, celebrity endorsements, policy advocacy, and law enforcement. Behaviour change is a process that involves understanding the motivations, barriers, triggers, and incentives that drive people's actions towards wildlife, and designing interventions that can nudge them towards more positive outcomes.
Sustainable alternatives and innovation. Sustainable alternatives are products or services that can replace or substitute the use of wildlife products without compromising their quality or functionality. They can be derived from synthetic materials, cultivated sources, or non-threatened species. Innovation is a process that involves creating new or improved solutions that can address the challenges or opportunities related to wildlife conservation. It can involve technology development, business models,
or policy reforms.
Sustainable utilisation of wildlife is not so sustainable after all. It faces many practical difficulties
and risks that can undermine its effectiveness
as a conservation strategy. Instead
of relying on this concept
we should explore other alternatives
that can protect
in a more holistic