Math could decide fate of endangered species

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/6/20 19:18:39

The Trump administration is considering a proposal that could effectively let some plants and animals become extinct so cash-strapped agencies can use more of their funds to save others.

At a closed-door meeting last month, Arizona State University ecologist Leah Gerber presented a plan to US Fish and Wildlife Service officials that would use a mathematical formula to direct government money away from endangered and threatened species she calls "over-funded failures" and toward plants and animals that can more easily be saved.

Gavin Shire, a spokesman for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, said in an e-mail to Reuters that the agency is examining the controversial proposal.

"We have worked closely with this group of scientists as they developed this new conservation tool, and while we have not made any determinations yet, are impressed with its potential," Shire said. "We will be exploring further if and how we may best use it to improve the effectiveness of our recovery efforts."

Gerber's May 5 meeting with officials has not been previously reported.



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