Conservation The Observer Should we give up half of the Earth to wildlife?
Populations of all kinds of wildlife are declining at alarming speed.
One radical solution is to make 50% of the planet a nature reserve The total number of orangutans in Borneo has fallen to less than 100,000, half what it was in 1995.
The numbers of these distinctive, red-maned primates are now plummeting thanks to our destruction of their habitats and illegal hunting of the species.
The idea is supported by E O Wilson, the distinguished Harvard biologist, in his most recent book, Half Earth.
Simply setting aside half the planet as wilderness and using the other half for giant cities and farms poses other difficulties.
Only a few hundred remain in the wild, after the species was hunted to near extinction because of its distinctive-flavoured meat. »