The Responsibility to Conserve Wild Species

John G. Robinson’s article "The Responsibility to Conserve Wild Species" is well-documented in Social Research, a world-renowned scholarly journal. The author is an authority in the field of zoology and wildlife conservation since he holds a PhD in Zoology and other prominent positions in major organizations geared towards conservation, such as the Wildlife Conservation Society. In this article, he presents the argument that all policies and interventions towards the conservation of wildlife are valid. He clearly stipulates various milestones and conceptualizes his ideas in the first paragraph where he points out the changing roles between human beings and wildlife over time. Urbanization and industrialization have greatly affected the wildlife’s ecosystem. Therefore, we should take responsibility and engineer plans that promote a peaceful co-existence.

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The author writes in a highly persuasive language. Therefore, one can decipher that the message is intended towards those who do not share his ideals or enthusiasm towards conservation. Whereas the journal targets scholars and prominent personalities, the underlying message is also directed towards the general populace who either lack motivation or enthusiasm to act. Robinson should have supplied detailed information for the general public. Nonetheless, with the target audience in mind, he delivers his message quite clearly.

It is quite evident that Robinson assumes that all human beings have a desire to take responsibility for the dwindling number of wildlife species. This article would have highly benefitted with a logos. By conducting research or presenting solid statistics from previously conducted research materials, his article would have been more convincing, and it would prompt his audience towards taking action.

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In the article, Robinson defines the problem-at-hand from the second to the sixth paragraph. By inserting one of Aldo Leopold’s famous quotes (ethos), ‘A thing's right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise,’ he directly links his argument through two perspectives. First, he adopts a utilitarian perspective whereby he conceptualizes the idea that the failure to conserve different wildlife species endangers various important resources that human beings find invaluable. Secondly, he adopts a bio-centric position whereby he stipulates that wild animals have an ‘inherent right to exist.’ I feel that these two approaches do not encompass the entirety of the matter. In fact, he does not even acknowledge the fact that there are other viewpoints to this subject matter. In his viewpoint, there are no other valid conservation approaches. He limits his readers to these two perspectives. Evidently, he does not want to provide reasons why his audience should not act.

Nonetheless, Robinson defines his ideas and the need to conserve wildlife quite articulately based on the ethos of ‘integrity, stability and beauty.’ This concept is further reinforced by his claim that ‘human beings are the single largest contributor to this global degradation (of natural systems and biological diversity).’ Having introduced his ideas to the mainstream audience, he then embarks on de-mystifying erroneously used terms such as ‘pristine,’ ‘wilderness’ and ‘undisturbed.’ He states that these are unattainable ideals. Throughout his article, he persuades the audience through several logical steps. By accepting Leopold’s statement, the reader is bound to accept the subsequent arguments. In the fourth paragraph, he lays the foundations for his later arguments on the establishment of a lasting solution. He perceives the establishment of national parks and other protected areas as a faulty path which he exemplifies by various mishaps that have occurred in the recent past in forests and the United States National Park Service.

Shortly afterwards, Robinson introduces a solution: enlisting the help of natives and local communities. However, he quickly dismisses this argument after identifying faults in this solution: in order to conserve wildlife, locals must attach a value; thus the wildlife would become a resource. Hence, this would conflict with the original objective of conservation. By discarding this idea, he fails to fully explore the merits or demerits presented therein. Does he want the audience to explore this idea by themselves?

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Finally, Robinson makes the most intuitive proposal in the sixth paragraph. The audience, who are well-averse with wildlife parks, zoos and other wildlife conservation programs, can easily identify themselves with this proposal. Therefore, it incites some pathos in the audience, which he capitalizes on. In addition, he stipulates three indisputable reasons, which he fuses with logos, why this solution is the right one.

In his conclusion, he revisits his argument that all conservation strategies are justifiable. He reinforces his argument by stipulating that ‘the more humans intervene, the more responsibility they must assume ... but to do otherwise is irresponsible.’ I feel that Robinson should have identified and addressed more ‘faulty’ paths. Nonetheless, his article presents a fairly good argument.

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