The value of wildlife has been widely ignored or under-rated in the past by the international community. At most, wildlife was considered from the limited aesthetic and touristic aspects. This situation has changed somewhat. In the majority of the veterinary profession, which is largely livestock-oriented, wildlife is increasingly considered in terms of wild animal production and occupies just as relevant a position as domestic animal production. Some economists are now trying to quantify the informal nature of a large portion of the wildlife sector. The importance of wildlife to local communities is now globally recognised in community-based or participatory natural resources management programmes. The authors highlight not only the economic importance of wildlife (which amounts to billions of United States dollars world-wide), through consumptive and non-consumptive uses, but also the present and potential nutritional value, the ecological role as well as the socio-cultural significance of wildlife for human societies of both the developed and the developing worlds. Also addressed in this chapter is a discussion on one of the main threats to wildlife conservation which consists of the reduction or even retrieval of the different values wildlife can offer.
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