Triage and the orange-bellied parrot

The critically endangered orange-bellied parrot was in the news for all the wrong reasons this week, with a report suggesting there may only be 21 birds left in the wild. Clearly this is unsustainable, and it may be that the species will soon go extinct in the wild.

This raises difficult but necessary questions over how conservation funds can be best spent to conserve biodiversity.

Here’s a nice 5 min interview with Hugh Possingham addressing some of the philosophical and economic rationale behind ecological triage.

As my friend Jessie put it so well, triage can mean actually saving the things we can, and and it can also tell us how much more we would need to spend if we really meant that we wanted to save everything.

Bottrill, M. C. et al. 2008. Is conservation triage just smart decision making? Trends in Ecology & Evolution 23:649-654.

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