Just before Christmas, I was happily slacking off in front of my Xbox getting some hard earned gaming time when the doorbell went. Like an idiot I answered it. It was WWF asking for a charitable donation to prevent tigers etc from being poached into extinction. I made some excuse about someone already having been round and they went away.

After this I did feel a little bit guilty that I hadn’t at least bothered to find out exactly _how_ they were planning to use these donations to protect the tigers. Which kind of got me thinking really….

As a bit of background I read (most of) the book [Dr. Edward de Bono] a little while ago. It’s kind of a book about problem solving by thinking in different ways by wearing different hats. I also did a bit of poking about de Bono and the things he’s been involved with and the extent to which his lateral thinking goes. You can see some of these in the [Ideas] section on his Wikipedia page.

This has me led to, in my own time/mind, inflatable tent attempt to discover solutions to problems that lie outside of the normal solution space (‘outside of the box’ I believe is the colloquial term / buzzword).

Right, lets back on track.

Certain animals are highly valued for their, for want of a better word, “parts”. These animals generally tend to be quite majestic animals sometimes in terms of size, sometimes in rarity, sometimes because they are particularly voracious hunters. Either way it’s not normally house spiders or moths or something else that you don’t really care about. So here’s “the world today” as I can see it:

As these “parts” have gained favour in various places around the world, so more and more people have seen a chance to earn large sums of money by, what has come to be called, “poaching” them.

NOTE: I’ve written “poaching” like this as the word itself implies ownership [Poaching] it is not entirely clear if all the events reported as poaching are technically poaching.

As this “poaching” has increased the animal populations tend to stop increasing and may, especially for long lived animals, begin rapidly decreasing.

As these populations have started decreasing more and more charities have been created to combat the “poaching”. Whether its by paying game keeper to patrol the land, or to create large fenced off or protected areas for the animals to roam in.

As the effort of “poaching” has increased in-line with the difficulty or procurement, either by active defence by Charitable organisations or merely animal scarcity, the effective worth of the prize will almost certainly have increased, as well as a potential increase in demand.

This looks to me like a bit of a vicious circle, and it seems equally clear that the Charitable organisations efforts aren’t having the desired effect.

So, thinking in the ‘de bono’ mindset, would it make sense to break the circle by declaring the animal in question ‘extinct’? Even though it may not be?