I always want to believe that everyone values protecting wildlife and preserving landscapes in the exact same way that I do. But the world is a diverse place, with perspectives and agendas as varied as the number of people in it. This part in the series on conservation organizations focuses on groups dedicated to working to pass and enforce laws that protect the environment and the animals and plants that reside within it. Continue reading
How stewardship relates to conservation is a fairly obvious connection: the first image you may have is of people, out in the field, working directly with wild animals and getting their hands dirty, figuratively and literally. However, outreach to connect with and inform people about animals and ecosystems is critical to building a sustainable culture of conservation. Ambassadorship, introducing people to individual animals from different species, connects people with animals from diverse geographies and ecosystems. Education teaches people why those animals or environments are important, and how to interact with or protect them. Continue reading
Management of natural resources–land, plants, and animals–are the realm of stewardship conservation groups. Often, the groups are started by (and may still be headed by) a single dedicated conservationist. For me, these groups stand out as clear, direct examples of conservation work. Jane Goodall of the Jane Goodall Institute began her research with wild chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream National Park of Tanzania, alone in the jungle with her mother. She has since grown her organization into a global powerhouse promoting education and conservation theories worldwide, while still maintaining stewardship over Gombe. Dian Fossey, infamously assassinated in the midst of her work with the endangered mountain gorilla in the Virunga massif in Rwanda, did not live to see her legacy, but the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and the Gorilla Doctors continue her work today. Stewardship also extends beyond these personality-driven conservation organizations, and includes protecting landscapes and ecosystems, monitoring and managing species across the globe, and rescuing and caring for individual animals. Continue reading
What constitutes a conservation organization? With many of the recent events in the news (Harambe the gorilla shot at the Cincinnati Zoo; canned game hunts with outcomes such as the killing of Cecil the Lion and others), there have been arguments about whether organizations such as zoos or private game reserves should be considered conservation organizations or merely perverse entertainment.
While I am not ready to tackle that question (yet), I do think it’s important to take a step back and ask What Does it Mean to be a Conservation Organization? What are the ultimate goals of conservation and how do organizations approach these goals? Continue reading