Legal responses to human-wildlife conflict: The precautionary principle, risk analysis and the ‘lethal management’ of endangered species

Hamman, Evan, Woolaston, Katie, & Lewis, Bridget (2016) Legal responses to human-wildlife conflict: The precautionary principle, risk analysis and the ‘lethal management’ of endangered species. IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, 7, pp. 57-83.

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Sharks can kill, wolves and bears can maim, and bats and birds can spread disease. Human existence has a long history of such conflicts. But as our populations and activities expand, human-wildlife encounters are an increasingly common source of tension. Some species pose a risk to humans, including through the spread of disease, but may also be endangered or at risk of extinction themselves. In such cases, there is a duty to conserve (nature), but also to protect (the public). Deciding how to respond requires decision-makers to make difficult but important value judgments. This article searches for ways to improve the legal processes for managing these unique situations of human-wildlife conflict. It investigates whether principles of international environmental law and human rights can be part of the solution, and if so, to what extent. The analysis concludes that one of the foremost roles for law is to prescribe processes for decision-makers which are rational, balanced and transparent. Existing principles like the precautionary principle are relevant, but they are only part of a broader risk analysis which must also account for human rights, communities and cultural values.

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ID Code: 99924
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Precautionary Principle, Threatened Species, Environmental Law, Human Wildlife Conflict, Endangered Species, White Shark, Great White Shark
ISSN: 1929-6088
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: 2016 Evan Hamman, Katie Woolastin and Bridget Lewis
Deposited On: 12 Oct 2016 23:02
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 23:07

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