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Science News: Granting the right to own property to wildlife

– G.A., Senior Editor

While modern capitalism’s focus on owning and controlling natural resources has been seen as overwhelmingly damaging to the other species we share our planet with, Karen Bradshaw, a professor at Arizona State University, has written a book in which she proposes that the same capitalistic focus be used on behalf of wildlife to protect specific habitats and biodiversity in general.

Published at the end of 2020, Wildlife as Property Owners: A New Conception of Animal Rights rejects the notion that only humans can own property and encourages the expansion of property rights to wildlife to ensure that essential habitats are protected..

One apparent difficulty associated with granting wildlife ownership over their habitat is the inability of wildlife to communicate with humans and effectively exercise their rights. However, as the author points out, there are numerous cases of pets that are willed money and property when their owners pass away. These animals benefit from trusts that are established and managed by human representatives on their behalf. Thus, the concept of bestowing ownership over land and financial resources has already been recognized and accepted within modern law.

Even if governments and citizens are unwilling or unable to return ownership of land to wildlife in areas at risk of habitat loss, raising awareness of the rights possessed by the other species we share our planet with might influence important decisions in the future that do have positive impacts on wildlife.

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