We ask the question in a paper in Conservation Letters and propose trials to test it.
Landholders, community groups, and investors would have a form of wildlife ownership by leasing threatened species on land outside protected areas.
They would be able to acquire animals from locally overabundant populations, breed them, innovate and assist further colonization/range expansion while making a profit from the increase. They may choose to reinvest any profits in further conservation.
The role of government would be to regulate, as is more appropriate in a mixed economy, rather than be the (sole) owner and manager of wildlife. We argue that that is more appropriate in a mixed economy and will enhance beneficial competition.
The paper can be downloaded at Conservation Letters. The key points are in a media release from the Australian National University.
Supplementary Information accompanying the paper on line nominates colonies and sites at which threatened species are breeding successfully. We suggest that where koalas, rock wallabies, nailtail wallabies, bandicoots, for example, are locally overabundant, they should become sources of further assisted colonisation, and that the private sector might be more inclined to participate if they had an addition commercial incentive.
If you have comments, would like to participate in the trial, or visit sites of overabundance contact us