Mainstream media depicted the shooting of an endangered gorilla as a tragic necessity because a child was at risk of grievous harm or death. Whether implicitly felt or explicitly stated, the assumption was that the life of this child was more valuable than the life of this gorilla.
When conservation plays offense, what's at stake is not so much some future loss, but a linked and living landscape that's out there right now, a landscape where it is still possible to see five bears pass by a campfire in a single night.
It's time for the conservation community to wake up and smell the notoriety it's courting for fiddling while Rome burns. If there is a surrogate species in need of attention, it's the 800-pound gorilla called the economy.
Although placing a dollar value on wild ecosystems may seem trite, it is actually the first step towards global conservation. Once our ecosystems have been assigned a monetary value then their importance become apparent to everyone.