Let Them Run Wild

Wilderness is worth a fortune. Recognizing that will help us preserve what's left of the natural world

A light morning mist hangs over the jungle as Peter Taggart sets a hornbill on a tree branch. Taggart runs an antipoaching station in the Cardamom Mountains in southwest Cambodia, and the hornbill, a black bird with a white breast and an oversize yellow beak, has been confiscated from a local villager. "The guy was keeping it as a pet," says Taggart, who works for Washington-based Conservation International. "He said he didn't know it was protected, but they all know, really."

The locals are hearing a lot about protecting the wildlife and the forests these days. For years the 2.5 million...

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