Saving Private Lion
Private reserves, rather than public ones, may be the key to survival for many endangered species, according to researchers who presented at the Society for Conservation Biology in Hawaii earlier this month. Jeffrey Langholz of the Monterey Institute of International Studies said private reserves already account for about an eighth of the world’s land dedicated to wildlife protection. In the U.S., between a third and a half of all endangered species are believed to live only on privately owned land. Some observers believe ecotourism could help encourage private landowners to conserve biodiversity. In Africa and Latin America, for example, a survey of private reserves found that 59 percent of those involved with ecotourism were profitable. But Langholz argued that many people who set aside land aren’t motivated to do so by financial considerations.