Conservation By Foreign Decree

Conservation By Foreign Decree

The United States Endangered Species Act identifies five factors that must be considered when determining whether a species should be listed "threatened" or "endangered" They are:

  1. the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species' habitat or range;
  2. overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
  3. disease or predation;
  4. the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and
  5. other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service considers the conservation benefit of listing domestic species on the endangered species list much higher than that of foreign species listing.

The Service has a broad range of management tools for domestic species.

Foreign species' management tools are limited. They include trade restrictions and CITES trade prohibitions, education and public awareness, and research grant monies.

Direct recovery actions are not possible.

The bottom line is that there is not enough money to go around.

Since the Service cannot develop recovery plans for foreign species, priorities for listing or delisting must, by necessity, consider other countries' conservation programs when based on sound science in determining which actions are of higher importance.

But more often than not, this instruction is ignored.

The fundamental flaw in the Act is that it does not consider the economics of wildlife conservation or the welfare of the people who live with and benefit from the wildlife resource.

This is especially true in Africa.