By Katie Kieffer
I’m going out on a limb with the koalas to say that entrepreneurs are better caretakers of animals and endangered species than politicians who call themselves environmentalists.
Last month, the journal Nature published a study showing that mathematical models for determining species extinction are unreliable and may be leading us to overestimate extinction probabilities by up to 160 percent. The study’s authors encourage the scientific community to not become complacent, but, rather, adopt better mathematical models for forecasting extinction rates.
Despite this research, environmentalists are pushing forward radical measures that could hurt animals and humans in one fell swoop. In contrast, entrepreneurs are advancing proposals that could preserve animals while creating jobs for humans.
Let’s walk through three different scenarios and you can decide who is doing a better job of protecting your furry and scaly friends:
Politicians in Australia are targeting these humped, Fergalicious creatures because they fart too much. Yes, you read that right, the Ausi government is scrambling to meet its Kyoto Treaty quotas and is looking for ways to eliminate sources of green-house gases.
According to The Washington Times, four camels produce as much annual methane as a Toyota Prius and Australian elites have decided to throw animals under the bus in order to fend off climate change. Proposed legislation would allow companies to earn carbon credits through initiatives like setting fires to brush (camel habitat) and “animal emissions avoidance projects such as camel reduction.”
Wanton destruction of nature to rack up carbon credits on a sheet of paper is wrong. When a set of animals—like camels—grows out of control or becomes a nuisance, entrepreneurs “respect” the animals by finding ways to feed and employ humans.
Entrepreneurs point out that camels have historically helped support and nourish poorer regions of the world. Camel milk is a popular, high-protein, low-fat and nutrient-rich beverage. Increasingly, Europeans and Americans are clamoring for access to this healthy alternative to cow’s milk. Ancient Greeks nourished themselves on lean camel meat and it is a staple in middle-eastern and African diets today.
Rather than meaninglessly shooting farting camels, Ausi entrepreneur Paddy McHugh is pushing the government to consider another option that will respect and save camels while employing Australians. He told Arabian Business: “We want to turn it around from a negative and produce an industry for Australia to export meat and milk to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. It’s got huge potential. …The Aboriginal people in Australia are quite destitute, and we believe it’s a great industry to embrace and harvest these feral animals.”
Once part of an international embargo and listed as endangered, this Bambi-like animal is slowly but surely recovering under the watchful eye of Italian fashion mogul Loro Piana, reports Time Magazine. Piana runs a 4,900-acre preservation site where vicuñas roam free and conservationists study their habits.
Piana and other entrepreneurs are slowly growing this fragile population and also weaving its rare fur into ultra-warm and super-soft clothing. The vicuña is only sheared once every two years and ultimately benefits from this manufacturing process. Time says that under Piana’s lead, the vicuña population in the Peruvian Andes has soared to 200,000.
The vicuña success story shows us how entrepreneurs like Piana find ways to grow animal populations out of endangerment while producing sought-after products and creating jobs.
Lizards and prairie chickens
Environmentalists are pressuring the Fish and Wildlife Service to rush the 3-in. dunes sagebrush lizard and the lesser prairie chicken inhabiting southeastern New Mexico and west Texas onto the endangered species list. Environmentalists claim that the oil industry in west Texas is destroying these critters despite that there is no definitive scientific data showing that oil production harms the lizards and prairie chickens. Caribou herds, for instance, have been found to grow and thrive alongside oil production in Alaska’s North Slope.
Prematurely protecting the dunes sagebrush lizard and the lesser prairie chicken would immediately threaten the jobs of 75 percent of west Texans who rely on the oil industry for their survival, reports Fox News. The Fish & Wildlife Service will make its determination by December.
The Board of Regents of the University of Texas System and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) are putting forward entrepreneurial proposals to set aside nearly 75,000 acres managed by the University of Texas for their habitat and to further study these creatures rather than impulsively sabotaging the American oil industry.
Bottom line, there is a market for camel products, vicuna hair and petroleum. Entrepreneurs find ways to satisfy market demands and create jobs while respecting, studying and benefiting the animals that produce these products or inhabit the areas where they are manufactured. In comparison, radical environmentalists often seek ways to advance their anti-business agendas – regardless of whether animals die meaninglessly or humans go hungry and jobless.