The article “Why must we protect crocodiles?” explaining the value of the Philippine crocodile to rural communities” discusses various methods, approaches, and reasons to protect the endangered Philippine crocodile. Although it is strictly prohibited from hunting, its numbers continue to decline due to the use of poaching fishing methods. The authors integrate various disciplines and focus on the economic, ecological, and cultural values of nature to solve this problem.
The authors divide natural values into external or instrumental and intrinsic ones. An intrinsic value does not depend on the usefulness of an ecosystem, an individual creature, or its merits to humans. Instrumental ones are useful to humans, so conservationists focus mainly on economic, environmental, and cultural ones to justify preservation policies (Van der Ploeg et al. 288). The researchers use qualitative data based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, as well as local people’s views and motives to provide solutions to the problem.
Using the economic approach, the researchers offer non-consumptive uses as the main solution. One of the reasons to protect crocodiles is that local people can obtain money from more sustainable sources, such as ecotourism (Van der Ploeg et al. 289). This kind of activity can bring rural people money and become a good alternative to hunting and fishing. Besides, improving local livelihoods and other indirect benefits can help to solve this problem. Another reason to preserve crocodiles is based on their cultural value. These animals contribute to the well-being of the rural Philippines and are considered the country’s cultural heritage.
Besides economic and cultural approaches, the researchers also use environmental value to justify the conservation of crocodiles. This animal, like all other creatures, participate in the food chain or the so-called ecological pyramid (Van der Ploeg et al. 292). If this predator becomes extinct, the ecological balance will be ruined. If the Philippine crocodile is removed from the food chain, the population of other animals that are susceptible to attacks by these predators will increase, which can lead to overpopulation of certain areas.
As the main reason for the modern ecological crisis, researchers consider the ignorance of the value of nature in determining the entire set of criteria that motivate human behavior. They effectively use an interdisciplinary approach when talking about the reasons to protect Philippine crocodiles. Their solutions are based on economic, ecological, and cultural values, as well as on the principle that nature has an intrinsic value because wildlife has an innate right to existence.
Van der Ploeg, Jan, et al. “‘Why must we protect crocodiles?’Explaining the value of the Philippine crocodile to rural communities.” Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences, vol. 8, no. 4, 2011, pp. 287-298.