Environmental Ethics

Volume 12, Issue 4, Winter 1990

AIdo Leopold
Pages 329-332

Means and Ends in Wild Life Management

[Although research in wildlife management is repeating the history of agriculture, unlike agricultural research, which employs scientific means for economic ends, the ends of wildlife research are judged in terms of aesthetic satisfactions as governed by “good taste.” Wild animals and plants are economically valuable only in the sense that human performers and works of art are: the means are of the brain, but the ends are of the heart. Wildlife management has forged ahead of agriculture in recognizing the invisible interdependencies in the biotic community. Moreover, it has admitted its inability to replace natural equilibria and its unwillingness to do so even if it could. Because many animals do not exhibit their natural behavior under laboratory conditions, researchers are dependent on observation in the wild. The difficulties involved in isolating variables are especially clear in the study of the natural cycle. It is a problem which seems to defy the experimental method.]