Conservation: Sanctions derail wildlife protection

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Blanket economic sanctions on politically unstable regimes that are rich in biodiversity deny local people access to international funding for wildlife conservation and management (see A. Waldron et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 110, 1214412148; 2013). More-targeted restrictions could secure major biodiversity gains for relatively minor investment.

The Red Sea coral-reef ecosystems of Sudan, for example, are among the world's healthiest, with robust populations of top predators; in South Sudan, one of the largest migrations of terrestrial mammals occurs each year. The international community should recognize the importance of such unique ecological attributes and help to safeguard them through adequate funding and research.

Terrorism, war and human-rights atrocities in Sudan's Darfur province are rightly condemned, but the remaining 75% of the country is relatively peaceful. Indeed, wildlife protection brings socio-economic benefits that help to alleviate poverty and resolve conflict (see W. M. Adams et al. Science 306, 11461149; 2004). Conservation should not be derailed by sanctions.

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  1. University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

    • Nigel Hussey

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