Thursday, 8 February 2018

Conservation Trusts and Charities: How good are they?

When travelling abroad I often see or hear of the work of some non-governmental conservation body or other working on a particular species, group of species or habitat. Sometimes they are big organisations and sometimes they are small, even one-man bands running on money provided by sponsors. The cynic in me, though, asks: How do we know that the work they are doing needs to be done? How effective are they at doing what they say they are doing? How efficient are they in doing what they are doing? Are some doing more harm than good, or having no effect?

I do not know the answers. There is competition for funding from private and corporate sponsors, government agencies and non-governmental organisations. Therefore the websites and written material of organisations are there to say how bad the problem they are are working on is and what a great job they are doing in tackling it—advertising puff in other words, just like that put out by British universities and so-called universities.

My impression—and I have no evidence to back it up—is that many organisations do a very good job in difficult conditions but I have the lingering suspicion some are there to provide their founders with an income to enjoy the lifestyle.

My very limited Latin prevents me from adapting Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? to Who watches the conservationists?