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The Missoulian: Montana News

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NewWest.net - Missoula, MT

New West is a next-generation media company dedicated to the culture, economy, politics, environment and lifestyle of the Rocky Mountain West. Our core mission is to serve the Rockies with innovative, participatory journalism and to promote conversation that helps us understand and make the most of the dramatic changes sweeping our region.

April 5th, 2007

Turning Wilderness Into Zoos?

Over the last ten years we have come to learn that wilderness is a human construction. I think, therefore, we need to be careful and deliberate in what we construct it to be. As we bring wild nature into our purview, there needs to be a call for restraint and humility. It is to that need, and of our relationship to the wild that this essay speaks.

My fundamental premise is that wilderness is becoming more and more like a zoo. Today we rightly have increased calls for wilderness to play a significant role in protection of biodiversity, for purposes of ecological restoration, and for the preservation of naturalness. My concern is the prioritization of those goals over and above all others for wilderness.

Notice how similar the purpose of zoos and of wilderness. Both of them prioritize science and research. Both are concerned with biological conservation. Today, both aim to provide immersive experiences, and both are retreats for harried city dwellers. Both zoos and wilderness are sources of civic pride and identity. Both have educational objectives, of inspiring appreciation and care for nature. Both tend to be particularly known for unique and charismatic mega-fauna. However, while there are many similarities in purpose, we must remember they have very different philosophical and historical origins.

The post Turning Wilderness Into Zoos? appeared first on New West.

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Topix - Missoula, MT

Your town. Your news. Your take.

April 5th, 2007

Turning Wilderness Into Zoos?

Over the last ten years we have come to learn that wilderness is a human construction. I think, therefore, we need to be careful and deliberate in what we construct it to be. As we bring wild nature into our purview, there needs to be a call for restraint and humility. It is to that need, and of our relationship to the wild that this essay speaks.

My fundamental premise is that wilderness is becoming more and more like a zoo. Today we rightly have increased calls for wilderness to play a significant role in protection of biodiversity, for purposes of ecological restoration, and for the preservation of naturalness. My concern is the prioritization of those goals over and above all others for wilderness.

Notice how similar the purpose of zoos and of wilderness. Both of them prioritize science and research. Both are concerned with biological conservation. Today, both aim to provide immersive experiences, and both are retreats for harried city dwellers. Both zoos and wilderness are sources of civic pride and identity. Both have educational objectives, of inspiring appreciation and care for nature. Both tend to be particularly known for unique and charismatic mega-fauna. However, while there are many similarities in purpose, we must remember they have very different philosophical and historical origins.

The post Turning Wilderness Into Zoos? appeared first on New West.

Read more

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