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Australian Researcher Suggests Taking a Leaf from Africa on Wildlife

The earth is currently in the midst of a mass extinction.

Experts suggest that by the middle of the century, as many as two-thirds of the planet’s species could be extinct. The most likely cause of this sobering phenomenon is climate change, which is throwing off the balance of natural ecosystems and forcing animals to migrate or adapt to changing weather conditions.

George Wilson, an adjunct professor at the Australian National University, recently published a paper in the journal Conservation Letters proposing that his country take a page from southern Africa by giving private landowners authority over the wildlife on their property — in a limited trial.

Since the late 1960s, the nations of Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa have — at various times and to varying degrees — granted people who own land that’s home to wildlife full legal control over the animals on that property. That means that instead of the government taking the lead in regulating hunting, eco-tourism, or conservation programs, that power is handed over to land owners.

Tim Collins

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