Pushing the Conversation on Compassionate Conservation

December 9, 2017

Bill Lynn and Cleo

Compassionate conservation is an emerging paradigm of managing wildlife. This approach stresses the moral value of individual animals and the efficacy of non-lethal management techniques. NewKnowledge research fellow William Lynn recently spoke at the third international conference for compassionate conservation, held in Sydney, Australia. Advocating for the need to balance the well-being of the entire community of life, Dr. Lynn noted that “a concept of compassion that only takes the needs of individual animals into account is necessary but insufficient. To do right by people, animals, and nature, we ought to practice a deep compassion.”

One feature of deep compassion is the recognition that individuals are members of social and ecological communities whose well-being is also of concern. With respect to wildlife, the well-being of individuals and the human or natural community may conflict, and harm is at times necessary to protect social networks and ecological communities. Navigating this tension is an ongoing challenge for both old and new paradigms of conservation and wildlife management. We’re thrilled to be a part of this conversation that requires the perspectives of many people from different walks of life. Have thoughts on compassionate conservation? Add a comment!

Read more about Dr. Lynn’s work on the ethics and politics of sustainability. Here’s more on the Marsh Institute at Clark University, where he is a research scientist.