Triage for Extinction – Which Species should we Save?

  • October 23, 2017
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Aurora Cultural Centre

Bridget Stutchbury

Bridget Stutchbury is a professor in the Department of Biology at York University, Toronto. She completed her M.Sc. at Queen’s University and her Ph.D. at Yale, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution. 

Since the 1980s, she has studied migratory songbirds to understand their behaviour, ecology and conservation. Her current research focuses on studying the incredible migration journeys of songbirds to help halt the severe declines in many species. 

She serves on the board of Wildlife Preservation Canada and is the author of Silence of the Songbirds (2007) and The Bird Detective (2010). She was also featured in the award-winning 2015 documentary The Messenger.

Triage for Extinction – Which Species should we Save? 

How much is the giant panda worth as a species?  More, or less, than a whooping crane or Tasmanian devil? Why should we spend millions of dollars a year on each of these species while hundreds of lesser-known species are neglected and underfunded? 

The practice of 'conservation triage' means that some species must go extinct to save many others. This has triggered much debate about exactly how to place a value on a given species and who gets to make this decision. Should we favour species that are important ecologically or culturally or, instead, species that are evolutionary unique? Maybe species with high medicinal or economic value to humans, like sea sponges and bumblebees, should get top priority. Bridget Stutchbury discusses the conservation triage controversy and which species are destined to be the winners and losers.

This event is part of the Fall 2017 Speaker series.

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