Nobody's going to be owning migrating blue whales anytime soon.
Right, but that's because of choices our world has made. I'm suggesting that if we care about this problem, we should start making different choices.
As for wolves, you have to understand how what happens upstream (literally) affects you downstream (literally). Ownership is not a tenable model there.
I don't understand why you think that is. I understand that what happens upstream affects you downstream. If you're downstream and upstream is owned, you can pay the upstream person part of the value you gain from their conduct. If you can't afford to get them to improve your downstream value, it's likely that you're overvaluing it or undervaluing their costs. It's easy to think the benefits exceed the costs when you don't have to pay the costs. I'm saying we'll get smarter behavior all around if those who reap the benefits are the same as those who pay the costs.
Private ownership of old forest growth is helping (the Nature Conservancy). But it's not happening fast enough, and it ultimately requires cooperation with multiple entities at the global level. Private ownership of Sumatran forests is not likely enough to prevent poaching.
Again, that's because of choices we have made. I'm suggesting we should make different choices.
As for oil - well, who knows? There are so many issues there.
There's actually no problem with oil, except where it's not privately owned. That oil which is not privately owned -- again, that's the result of choices our society has made. If we care about conserving resources, we should start making different choices -- specifically, private ownership of resources.
Now, where I don't think it works is with certain types of pollution. For example, private ownership of breathable air doesn't seem possible to me, unless you imagine one private entity owning all the air on the planet. So I'll concede that one.
But for most resource conservation problems, private ownership is the solution. We have made a lot of bad choices and should start fixing them.