Thoughts on the Value of Wildlife and Wild Places

Reader Contribution by Randy Haviland
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To me, this is a hard question. Determining the value of wildlife and wild places is something that has gone undefined and continues to be undefined. It is relatively easy to place value on every day objects such as a cup of coffee or a car, even placing value on housing is significantly easier then something like wildlife. This issue is constantly debated — it is like we are engaged in a constant tug of war battle with no end in sight.

The ability to take a walk down to the river in a stunning valley and have the opportunity to cross paths with a passing tmber wolf or grizzly bear, or hear the bugle of an elk echo though the ghostly pine flats, is something hard to place a value on. This experience to some is priceless, to connect and share a moment with our neighbors is a fundamental experience in which the purest feelings and emotions are felt: excitement, fear, respect, wonder are experienced at once.

To see wildlife and share a fleeting moment is prized by many outdoor enthusiasts, but is it necessary for one to directly experience wildlife and wild places to place high value on it.

Should wilderness be valued just for the sake of wilderness or does wilderness have to be visited to be enjoyed? Herein lies a common conflict: If we can not explore a wilderness, does it have value?

In my opinion, wilderness in the truest form should have the highest value. It is in this environment where the land and her inhabitants are free to show their true characteristics uninterrupted by our development and judgments. A world without wilderness is a world without wonder, the ability to dream about untouched wilderness and run into untamed wildlife is a dream had by many young children. Without this dream, what will come of our wild animals?

Randy Haviland is a wildlife biologist from British Columbia, Canada, as a hunter he has extreme passion for the wilderness and the wildlife that call it home. By teaching how hunting can provide the highest quality of food available, Randy encourages people to challenge their former notions of hunting and look at it not as simply killing, but the process required for supplying your family with top-quality food. Find him at, on Facebook and Instagram. Read all of Randy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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