Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wildlife vs. people (natives vs. tourists)

With her last statement, the writer, Akhila Vijayaraghavan, undoes every previous argument for ecocentric, non-anthropocentric approach to conservation: With the state of Madhya Pradesh already on the map for a sizeable tiger population, it could soon become the only state in India with both the big cats *which would make it an exciting visit for wildlife enthusiasts.*  Emphasis mine.  Access the article here.

Compare with the words of Neha Sinha, whose op-ed Vijayaraghavan is highlighting. "Placing the persistence of species at its heart, the judgment calls for directives based on an ‘eco-centric approach’ and not a human or anthropocentric approach. Combined with the idea of doing what is best for the species, rather than the whims of policies, planning and politics, the judgment makes a powerful call for a new conservation paradigm, based on both science and ethics, for our most threatened species.”

Despite our best intentions, we always have an eye on our benefits as humans, however, tangible or intangible.  Until the next study comes along and quantifies the cumulative effects of well-meaning wildlife visits, we will continue to believe visits as benign activities while local dwelling as exploitative.  My generation (of wildlife enthusiasts) was brought up with the thought that if you bring people to the wildlife, people will find value enough to want to conserve these species.  But I don't know...Maybe the new paradigm in justifying, planning, arguing for conservation should be to value species and habitat protection whether or not non-local people get to see them.

Contrast with the story of relocation of a whole village.         

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