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The "capacity to reason" in conservation biology and policy: the southern elephant seal branding controversy

Jabour Green, J. and Bradshaw, Corey J. A. (2004). The "capacity to reason" in conservation biology and policy: the southern elephant seal branding controversy. Journal of Nature Conservation,12(1):25-39.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title The "capacity to reason" in conservation biology and policy: the southern elephant seal branding controversy
Author Jabour Green, J.
Bradshaw, Corey J. A.
Journal Name Journal of Nature Conservation
Publication Date 2004
Volume Number 12
Issue Number 1
ISSN 1617-1381   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 25
End Page 39
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Modern environmental research is typically governed by a number of protocols designed to embrace the epistemological and ethical values of society. These protocols evolve in response to changing values, and few disciplines in environmental science have received as much attention as biological conservation. This paper describes the events leading to a controversy regarding a particular research technique used to investigate the cause of a long-term population decline of southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) at Macquarie Island, south of Australia – hot-iron branding of individuals. We discuss procedures and protocols that were in place at the time the controversy erupted, the subsequent reflection of the researchers and authorities involved, and the steps taken to avoid future occurrences. Our treatment of the issue is framed within a discussion of modern ethical philosophy, and our aim is to identify the true source of the controversy. We offer several suggestions as to how such events can be avoided in the future, and provide a model framework for incorporating changing ethical values into important biological conservation objectives.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2004.04.001   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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