Several weeks ago, science writer Virginia Hughes wrote a piece about her trip to the Galapagos Islands. In it, she described a project in which scientists intentionally killed eighty thousand feral goats on one of the islands in the archipelago. The post led to an interesting conversation in the comments. Following the discussion, Ginny put me in touch with Michelle Nijhuis, who recently wrote a feature for Scientific American on conservation management. At Ginny’s urging, Michelle and I decided to discuss some of the questions raised when considering the role of humans in shaping or guiding natural ecologies and why the wiping out of 80,000 goats raises emotional questions in a way that other sorts of conservation-related decisions might not. We turned that conversation into a blog post.
Image: Liz Dawson, used under Creative Commons license.