John Stonestreet on Why Conservation Belongs in a Christian Worldview

The words “endangered species” brings to mind fatalistic headlines about animals on the verge of extinction. Landing on the endangered species list is, in the minds of many, as good as a death sentence. Lately, however, endangered species are more often making the news for being removed from the list, not making it.

The giant panda, the southern white rhinoceros, the Florida manatee, the grizzly bear, the snow leopard, the gray wolf, the humpback whale, and the bald eagle have all graduated from the endangered species list in recent years, thanks to diligent conservation efforts.

Other iconic animals are also on their way to recovery. Late last month, we learned that the California condor, one of the largest and rarest birds in the world, has now reached a population of 1,000, up from a mere 22 birds in the 1980s!

And how about them tigers, which have staged maybe the most exciting recovery of all? In 2010, the Indian government committed to double the wild tiger population by 2022. Last week, they announced they’re ahead of schedule. An estimated three-thousand tigers now live in India, up by around 1,300 since the goal was set.

Each of these conservation success stories is worth talking about, especially given the strong media bias toward bad news when it comes to the environment. In the current dominant narrative, humans are almost always portrayed as villains, the problem species that our planet would be better off without. However, the recovery of all these endangered animals shows that while humans are often the problem, we can also be the solution.

Of course, there are the obvious means that humans can help, like protecting endangered creatures by law or treaty. And that doesn’t even require worshiping animals or equating them with humans, as too many with a secular worldview do. Believe it or not, humans sometimes help animals by killing them.

As Oxford conservationist Amy Dickman wrote at CNN last year, well-managed trophy hunting has been a critical source of conservation income in Africa. It turns out that allowing hunters to purchase the right to bag a prize often helps save endangered animals like elephants and lions from the real forces that threaten them, like poaching and habitat loss.

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Source: Christian Headlines

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