Austin Peck, PhD (Biology) and film director writes about the tragic decline of the African elephant at the hands of man, and how we have choices to make. Empathy and action are key to saving Africa’s wilderness.
“Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, for example, is an entire ecosystem the size of Michigan that is itself on the chopping block because it no longer earns money from tourism. Just out of sight from the empty lodge verandas, the bushland is already quickly and quietly becoming grazing land for tens of thousands of cattle owned by businessmen from the capital city. New railways and gas pipelines, funded primarily by China, block elephant migration routes. While unbridled development of the region gallops forward, elephants are increasingly pushed into oblivion, and it is still the black face of the impoverished poacher who is most commonly blamed for the wholesale annihilation of the wild. These are the kinds of choices we make, and the stories those choices require.”
“Swaziland shocks the global conservation community with a bid to sell rhino horn to Asia.”
This would be a disaster. The ban on international trade in rhino horn is probably the only thing standing between rhino survival and their extinction at the ignorant hands of those who happily put profit before life and, most certainly, before the conservation of a species.
The effects of trophy hunting on five of Africa’s iconic wild animal populations in six countries – Analysis – Conservation Action Trust
“The analysis will reveal that trophy hunting is an activity that fuels corruption, it encourages the unfair redistribution of the wealth generated without adequate involvement of communities, causes the loss of healthy individuals that are still key for reproduction and social cohesion and, most damagingly, contributes to the decline of all five species considered in this report.”
The elephant, rhino, leopard, cheetah and lion are the five African species considered in this report, which refutes a previous report which stated that trophy hunting provided revenue for the country and its communities and aided conservation. Ten years on and this is found to be thoroughly inaccurate.
There’s a lot to be said for friendship (and oxytocin).
The tide may well be turning… Is it too late?
‘Carnivore cleansing’ is damaging ecosystems, scientists warn
Predator persecution is not acceptable. Without human intervention ecosystems function just fine, with species numbers keeping their own checks and balances. Hunting and farming are having a seriously detrimental effect on ecosystems. This message can’t be said or shared enough times.
Unfortunately, from my experience of discussions on the subject, hunters don’t appear to be the most open-minded groups of people and tend to conveniently believe and regurgitate the myth that hunting equals conservation. This extends, of course, to trophy hunters who like to claim their hunting of Africa’s top predators somehow equates to a great humanitarian effort for the people in the region.
Scientific culling doesn’t help the argument against killing predators as it muddies any message that ecosystems should ideally be left to their own devices and species should not need to be ‘managed’ by humans. Culling is often then used as an excuse to kill any number of species. Ultimately, it’s up to governments to end hunting of all species all together.
I tend to feel any hunting equates to simple blood lust and the perverse enjoyment of killing (which clearly indicates psychotic tendencies), along with a greedy and short-sighted desire to clear more land or manage land upon which we rear non-native, intensively farmed animals (this includes grouse shooting in the UK, as the persecuted hen harrier population demonstrates).
I know that I would far rather see flourishing ecosystems and wholly natural spaces than acre upon acre of barren landscape dotted with cows or sheds full of meat industry slaves.
Africa’s Imperiled Wild Lions Don’t Need Petting and Walking Operations/Africa’s Imperiled Wild Lions Don’t Need Petting and Walking Operations/Os Ameaçados Leões Selvagens de África Não Precisam de Festinhas e Passeios | National Geographic (blogs)
A corrupt and shady business that is not helping Africa’s desperate conservation needs at all and steals vital tourist money away from real conservation projects.
The unregulated practice of ‘walking with lions’ and petting lion cub ventures in africa – under the guise of lion conservation – is putting real lion conservation at serious risk, creating a pool of unwanted older lion cubs and potentially fueling more demand for lion parts within the Asian animal parts markets. These ventures needs to be banned, tracked down and crushed.
Using field cameras to motion-capture African wildlife and identify species, this Zoologist is funded by people on the interweb! Great idea.