Species extinction is a loaded topic that touches too close to heart to many of my friends and I will do my best to empathize with them.
The Black Rhino has been declared extinct, and we were powerless to stop it. It will only exist in empty museum halls and dusty textbooks, banished eternally from the grasslands it once roamed.
In the grasslands the Black Rhino has become another victim to the Tragedy of the Commons. Individuals, acting rationally out of self-interest, depleted the resource even though its depletion is contrary to the group’s long-term best interest.
They say capitalism was the cause of the Black Rhino’s extinction, however, it could have been key to its salvation. Anti-poaching laws have done little to prevent greedy poachers from hunting down the black rhino to extinction for its horn.
The proper institutions are not in place, government officials are very much bribable. How can anti-poaching laws be enforced if poachers can bribe officials to look the other way? With proper institutions in place, Capitalism coupled with Property Right, a key element of free markets, would have saved the Black Rhino.
Individuals in clear possession of endangered species are best suited to insure their survival. As proprietors of the animal, it is in their best interest to keep something so scarce alive because they know that others value it.
Owning the last pocket of an endangered species screams profit. Rational Choice Theory argues that if there’s value in an estate sheltering an endangered species, then it would also make sense to “farm” them to increase the value of the estate. Yes, I said “farm.”
My friend argues that we would be saving an endangered animal for the wrong reason. I can empathize with her. I too would not want to see an animal caged in its habitat, even if that cage extends beyond its migration patterns. Ultimately I believe that saving an animal for the wrong reasons is better than failing to save them.
If you don’t believe I care about the issue, check out this “endangered species chocolate” bar I bought last night. It’s Rainforest Friendly, NON GMO verified, and Gluten Free!