Using an Ecological Ethics Framework to Make Decisions about the Relocation of Wildlife

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Biodiversity, Conservation, Decision-making, Ecological ethics, Management, Moral dilemmas, Relocation

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Relocation is an increasingly prominent conservation tool for a variety of wildlife, but the technique also is controversial, even among conservation practitioners. An organized framework for addressing the moral dilemmas often accompanying conservation actions such as relocation has been lacking. Ecological ethics may provide such a framework and appears to be an important step forward in aiding ecological researchers and biodiversity managers to make difficult moral choices. A specific application of this framework can make the reasoning process more transparent and give more emphasis to the strong sentiments about non-human organisms held by many potential users. Providing an example of the application of the framework may also increase the appeal of the reasoning process to ecological researchers and biodiversity managers. Relocation as a conservation action can be accompanied by a variety of moral dilemmas that reflect the interconnection of values, ethical positions, and conservation decisions. A model that is designed to address moral dilemmas arising from relocation of humans provides/demonstrates/illustrates a possible way to apply the ecological ethics framework and to involve practicing conservationists in the overall decision-making process.

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Science and Engineering Ethics, v. 14, issue 4, p. 505-521