Our duties to endangered species
Rolston, Holmes, 1932-
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Few persons doubt that we have obligations concerning endangered species, because persons are helped or hurt by the condition of their environment, which includes a wealth of wild species, currently under alarming threat of extinction. Whether humans have duties directly to endangered species is a deeper question, important in both ethics and conservation biology, in both practice and theory. A rationale that centers on species worth to persons is anthropocentric; a rationale that includes their intrinsic and ecosystemic values is naturalistic. Many endangered species have no resource value, nor are they particularly important for the usual humanistic reasons: scientific study, recreation, ecosystem stability, and so on. Is there any reason to save such worthless species? An environmental ethics answers that species are good in their own right, whether or not they are good for anything.