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Conservation and Individual Worth

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It is commonly supposed that individual animals are of little relevance to conservation which is concerned, instead, with groups of things or 'wholes' such as species, habitats, and the like. It is further contended by some that by prioritising individuals, two of those values that are held dear by conservation - namely natural selection and fitness - are compromised. Taking wildlife rehabilitation as a paradigm case of concern for the individual, it is argued that the latter claim is based upon mistaken assumptions. Then, using red deer culling as a case study, the discord between conservation's holistic values and a concern for individual worth is explored. It emerges that the conservation value of red deer culling is more apparent than real and thus that there is more room for conservationists' acceptance of individual worth than usually supposed.
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Keywords: 'wholes'; culling; fitness; holistic; natural selection; wildlife rehabilitation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1997-11-01

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2016) of 1.279.
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