The North American Wildlife Conservation Model (NAWCM) is a unique system of conservation applied only in Canada and the United States. It is properly referred to as a “model” because it consists of components that are interrelated and transferable between regions. The model originated in the mid 19th century after the near extinction of several species and sportsmen became concerned. The model is now widely accepted among ecologists, teaching institutes, and US state agencies.
The two core principles of the model:
- our fish and wildlife belong to all North American citizens,
- our fish and wildlife are to be managed in such a way that their populations will be sustained at optimal levels for future generations.
Under these core principles fall 7 tenets, also known as the Seven Sisters of Conservation:
- Wildlife as a Public Resource: No one person owns the wildlife, even when it is on their land.
- Prohibition on Commerce: Wildlife can not be killed and sold for profit.
- Democratic Rule of Law: All citizens can participate in developing systems of wildlife conservation and use.
- Non-frivolous Use: Any game animal must be killed only for a legitimate purpose such as food, self-defense, or protection of property.
- Hunting Opportunity for All: Hunting is made possible for all citizens not just the wealthy.
- International Resources: The boundaries of states and nations are of little relevance to wildlife, and policies for wildlife conservation must address this reality.
- Scientific Management: Science is identified as a key factor for understanding and managing wildlife.
Responsible implementation of this model, along with efforts to protect wildlife habitat, restored decimated game populations and brought many of our best-known wildlife species back from the edge of annihilation.
The wildlife diversity and abundance we enjoy today is nothing else than the result of successful implementation of the NAWCM.