I’m probably going to Hell for this thought.

So I get this email from the Wildlife Conservation Society – no, I’m not exactly sure why, either – and it’s on the subject of black market orangutang babies.  Apparently there is in fact a good deal of money to be made in black market orangutang babies, which is why the WCS needs money for various palliatives to the problem.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like orangutangs.  I’m just wondering: why don’t they just, you know, buy up the black market orangutang babies and keep them somewhere that the… mo… err, ape-nappers*?… can’t get to?

Oh, I’m sure that there are regulations against that.  Still, there’s got to be a way to get it so that it’s in the ape-nappers’ best interests to make sure that the orangutang population increases…

Moe Lane

*Long story.


  • Dan says:

    It’s the tragedy of the commons in Ape form. If they try to buy up the baby orangutangs, they just drive up the price for them which causes more poachers to go app-napping.

    What they should do is grant someone an enforceable monopoly on the baby orangs, then that party would could invest some of their own money protecting their property rights. And they have an incentive to keep the supply chain intact. More cute baby monkeys for everyone then.

    Dang, I said the m-word. Run!

  • Canthros says:


  • Rob Crawford says:

    If they bought them, they’d just be making the trade more profitable.

  • PubliusNV says:

    Long, long ago, when Mugabe had first come to power in Zimbabwe, he gave local farmers property rights over the wild animals on their properties. Where before, they had considered the animals nuisances and killed them for eating their crops, they now had an incentive to protect the animals, since they could make more money by protecting them and collecting money from tourists who wanted to see them. Poaching dropped significantly and herd sizes climbed. The Economist, which I subscribed to at the time, reported on this success, and used it to argue, as Dan did above, for private property rights being applied to align incentives, rather than resorting to socialist command and control solutions.

    Of course later it all went to hell in Zimbabwe, and no one in power learned the right lessons.

    Oh well. As Heinlein said, bad luck.

  • countrydoc says:

    Has the discovery that you are on the Wildlife Conservation Society mailing list led to a reevaluation of your lifestyle choices? Tell us, we’re all friends here.

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