Who First into the Ark?

How should we focus our conservation efforts?

Of course we want to save the panda. Pandas are cuddly, furry and charismatic, and even cuter when they sneeze. But a new approach to conservation policy suggests that we ought to be prioritising our efforts in a different way. The Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) index aims to measure how "evolutionarily distinct" (ED) a given species is, with the idea that more evolutionarily distinct species are more worth preserving.

Conservation is, on the whole, a worthwhile aim; let us take that as read. But, in a world where thousands of species are in imminent danger of extinction, how should we focus our efforts? Certainly it may be useful to develop metrics such as the EDGE index to help us assess how we should prioritise in making decisions about which species to save. Without an account

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