By Lisa Barrett

We are in the wake of a sixth mass extinction due to human activity (hunting, habitat degradation, etc.) and climate change. Humans not only put species in danger of becoming extinct in the first place, but we also decide which species “deserve” to be saved. While some endangered species enjoy population revivals, others do not make the cut. After all, with over 5,000 species listed as endangered (and likely more on which we do not have sufficient data), there will always be some that get overlooked. Conservationists must attempt to prioritize and compare species that are approaching extinction.

This sort of “conservation triage” is difficult to consider, but it is nonetheless important in directing funds and resources to conservation efforts. In fact, these types of decisions depend on a multitude of complex factors, some of which are location-specific (What is valuable in the economy? What does the…

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