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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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PERSPECTIVE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 293-297

Wars over Wildlife: Green Militarisation and Just War Theory


1 Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, The Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Oxfordshire, UK
2 Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, The Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Oxfordshire, UK; South Rift Association of Landowners, Nairobi, Kenya
3 Centre for Journalism, University of Kent, UK
4 Department of Defence Studies, Kings College London, UK

Correspondence Address:
Paul J Johnson
Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, The Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Oxfordshire
UK
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_19_34

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Militarisation of conservation (sometimes known as 'green militarisation') is an issue of growing international interest. Rhino horn is immensely valuable (in 2013 its value exceeded that of gold or cocaine), and its illegal trade has attracted widespread attention. Conservationists have declared a 'war' on poaching, with extensive military resources deployed to combat it. This sometimes includes operations which are referred to, particularly in the media, as 'shoot-to-kill'. These can be tantamount to extra-judicial killings. We scrutinise this issue using 'Just War' principles, to explore whether the 'war' on poaching meets the criteria expected of armed conflict. Our perspective suggests that it fails both ethical and pragmatic examination. This piece encourages conservation scientists, and the public, to consider which actions are justified in protecting wildlife, and how we should rethink conservation policy to achieve ethical, successful outcomes for both people and wildlife.


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