There is one fundamentally important point that must be widely understood and accepted if the world’s wildlife is to be preserved. In addition to the cold, practical reasons for preserving species, we must learn to appreciate wildlife for its intrinsic value, to respect its right to exist, and to have humane concern for the survival of entire species.
In North America, the historic importance of wild animals has been sustained by laws rooted in the premise that wildlife cannot be owned by people but instead is held in trust by government for the benefit of all citizens and future generations.
For the Public Trust Doctrine to be an effective wildlife conservation tool, the public must understand that wild animals, regardless of whose property they are on, belong to everyone. Furthermore, the government, as trustee, must be legally accountable for preserving wildlife for the benefit of present and future generations…in essence, preventing its endangerment.
In future decades, will governments preserve biodiversity for future generations? Will wildlife remain wild? The answers to these questions will depend significantly upon people’s awareness of their shared responsibility to be a voice for it.