The Catholic Church joins her own commitment to that made in the social field by other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, whether at the level of doctrinal reflection or at the practical level. Together with them, the Catholic Church is convinced that from the common heritage of social teachings preserved by the living tradition of the people of God there will come motivations and orientations for an ever closer cooperation in the promotion of justice and peace.
35. Christian revelation shines a new light on the identity, the vocation and the ultimate destiny of the human person and the human race. Every person is created by God, loved and saved in Jesus Christ, and fulfils himself by creating a network of multiple relationships of love, justice and solidarity with other persons while he goes about his various activities in the world. Human activity, when it aims at promoting the integral dignity and vocation of the person, the quality of living conditions and the meeting in solidarity of peoples and nations, is in accordance with the plan of God, who does not fail to show his love and providence to his children.
Mother and Teacher, the Church does not close herself off nor retreat within herself but is always open, reaching out to and turned towards man, whose destiny of salvation is her reason for being. She is in the midst of men and women as the living icon of the Good Shepherd, who goes in search of and finds man where he is, in the existential and historical circumstances of his life. It is there that the Church becomes for man a point of contact with the Gospel, with the message of liberation and reconciliation, of justice and peace.
In her continuous attention to men and women living in society, the Church has accumulated a rich doctrinal heritage. This has its roots in Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels and the apostolic writings, and takes on shape and body beginning from the Fathers of the Church and the great Doctors of the Middle Ages, constituting a doctrine in which, even without explicit and direct Magisterial pronouncements, the Church gradually came to recognize her competence.
168. The responsibility for attaining the common good, besides falling to individual persons, belongs also to the State, since the common good is the reason that the political authority exists. The State, in fact, must guarantee the coherency, unity and organization of the civil society of which it is an expression, in order that the common good may be attained with the contribution of every citizen. The individual person, the family or intermediate groups are not able to achieve their full development by themselves for living a truly human life. Hence the necessity of political institutions, the purpose of which is to make available to persons the necessary material, cultural, moral and spiritual goods. The goal of life in society is in fact the historically attainable common good.
181. To the subjects, whether individuals or communities, that exercise ownership of various types of property accrue a series of objective advantages: better living conditions, security for the future, and a greater number of options from which to choose. On the other hand, property may also bring a series of deceptive promises that are a source of temptation. Those people and societies that go so far as to absolutize the role of property end up experiencing the bitterest type of slavery. In fact, there is no category of possession that can be considered indifferent with regard to the influence that it may have both on individuals and on institutions. Owners who heedlessly idolize their goods (cf. Mt 6:24, 19:21-26; Lk 16:13) become owned and enslaved by them. Only by recognizing that these goods are dependent on God the Creator and then directing their use to the common good, is it possible to give material goods their proper function as useful tools for the growth of individuals and peoples.
428. The biblical accounts of creation bring out the unity of the human family and teach that the God of Israel is the Lord of history and of the cosmos. His action embraces the whole world and the entire human family, for whom his work of creation is destined. God's decision to make man in his image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26-27) gives the human being a unique dignity that extends to all generations (cf. Gen 5) and throughout the entire earth (cf. Gen 10). The Book of Genesis indicates moreover that the human being was not created in isolation but within a context, an integral part of which are those living spaces that ensure his freedom (the garden), various possibilities for food (the trees of the garden), work (the command to cultivate) and above all community (the gift of someone who is like himself) (cf. Gen 2:8-24). Throughout the Old Testament, the conditions that ensure the fullness of human life are the object of a divine blessing. God wants to guarantee that man has what is necessary for his growth, his freedom of self-expression, success in his work, and a wealth of human relationships.
473. The Christian vision of creation makes a positive judgment on the acceptability of human intervention in nature, which also includes other living beings, and at the same time makes a strong appeal for responsibility. In effect, nature is not a sacred or divine reality that man must leave alone. Rather, it is a gift offered by the Creator to the human community, entrusted to the intelligence and moral responsibility of men and women. For this reason the human person does not commit an illicit act when, out of respect for the order, beauty and usefulness of individual living beings and their function in the ecosystem, he intervenes by modifying some of their characteristics or properties. Human interventions that damage living beings or the natural environment deserve condemnation, while those that improve them are praiseworthy. The acceptability of the use of biological and biogenetic techniques is only one part of the ethical problem: as with every human behaviour, it is also necessary to evaluate accurately the real benefits as well as the possible consequences in terms of risks. In the realm of technological-scientific interventions that have forceful and widespread impact on living organisms, with the possibility of significant long-term repercussions, it is unacceptable to act lightly or irresponsibly.
The ecology of large carnivores makes them inherently rare (Colinvaux 1979), and they are experiencing population declines and range reduction due to habitat loss, direct persecution, and prey depletion [15, 21, 56]. In addition to these problems, interspecific competition strongly structures many large carnivore guilds. Because subordinate competitors are limited by dominant competitors, conservation efforts are further complicated for these species [9, 23, 29, 43, 53]. Prey depletion is an emerging threat that affects many carnivore populations in developing countries , in a manner that is likely to interact with the effect of interspecific competition . The population density of dominant competitors such as lions (Panthera leo) is strongly correlated with prey density, and decreases in response to prey depletion [67, 69]. Densities of subordinate competitors such as wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) and cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) are not tightly correlated with prey density, but are negatively correlated with the density of their dominant competitors [11, 30, 36, 47, 48, 63]. Recent research has shown that the reduction of dominant competitors (lions) does not necessarily release subordinate competitors (wild dogs), if the low density of dominant competitors is caused by prey depletion . Much research has described the effects of dominant competitors on the distribution and abundance of subordinate carnivores in ecosystems with intact prey communities [11, 43, 57], but we know little about these effects when both prey and dominant competitors are reduced (a condition that is increasingly common).
Most species are affected by interspecific competition, and anthropogenic effects can alter competitive interactions. Understanding these effects is critical for the conservation and management of endangered subordinate carnivores . Wild dogs are an excellent species with which to study these issues, because they are limited by interference competition with lions and spotted hyenas and are always found at lower densities than their dominant competitors . Anthropogenic prey depletion has recently been identified as an important driver of low wild dog population density . Problematically, low-density wild dog populations often reach a local extinction threshold after relatively small-scale disturbances, exemplified by wild dog populations in the Ngorongoro crater, the Serengeti plains, and Liuwa plains [11, 19, 27].
The Kafue National Park (KNP), which forms the backbone of the Greater Kafue Ecosystem (GKE), has long been considered a stronghold for wild dogs in Zambia and neighboring nations that encompass the greater Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) . However, the density of ungulate prey in KNP has been severely reduced by decades of poaching pressure stemming from the illegal bushmeat trade [51, 70]. While the dynamics are not fully understood, the bushmeat trade in savanna Africa is driven by national and international demand from urban and rural areas, and lack of employment and economic opportunity in communities adjacent to protected areas . The largest taxa within the wild ungulate guild are disproportionately targeted due to their greater economic value, which has led to greater reductions in larger ungulate species than medium and small species . The loss of larger ungulates in Kafue has led to prey-base homogenization, niche compression, and increased dietary overlap within the large carnivore guild , and contributed to low densities of both lions and wild dogs [28, 69]. Survival rates for wild dogs in KNP are comparable to those in stable, high-density populations, suggesting that low wild dog density is primarily driven by prey depletion, rather than direct additive mortality from wire snares or other human impacts (which would yield lower survival rates) . Wild dog packs in Kafue are smaller than most other ecosystems, and home-ranges in Kafue are the largest recorded for the species, suggesting that the combination of low prey and competitor densities could have strong effects on movement, but the effects of prey availability and dominant competitors on wild dog movements have not been studied in Kafue or elsewhere. 2b1af7f3a8