Wildlife groups accused of funding abuses against Pygmies in Africa

2017-09-26 15:01
File: AFP

File: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Libreville - Wildlife guards funded by the WWF and other conservation groups have carried out systematic abuses against tribes in central Africa, an activist group claimed on Monday.

Survival International, a British rights group, published a report containing more than 200 reported incidents against the Baka and Bayaka Pygmies in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic since 1989.

It claimed some of the world's largest conservation organisations, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), have illegally evicted the tribes from their ancestral homelands "in the name of conservation".

In response, WWF said it did not employ eco-guards and described the reported abuse as "totally unacceptable".

Survival International said the creation of new national parks leave the tribes open to accusations of poaching when they hunt to feed their families.

'Harrowing accounts'

"Together with their neighbours, they face harassment and beatings, torture and death. The anti-poaching squads that commit these atrocities are funded and equipped by the same conservation organisations," the report said.

Survival said the "harrowing accounts" it had gathered represented only a small fraction of the real number of such cases as the vast majority go undocumented.

"All these abuses should have been investigated swiftly and fairly, but almost always go unpunished, and are frequently denied."

WWF said it does not employ eco-guards, but does fund equipment and uniforms as part of its conservation work.

"We are shocked and saddened to hear of the violence and abuse of indigenous people. It is totally unacceptable," it said in a statement.

'Green colonialism'

WWF said it has repeatedly asked Survival International to share information about the incidents so it can urge the authorities to act.

The Baka and Bayaka Pygmies are a hunter-gatherer people who have lived in the tropical forests of the Congo River basin for generations.

The report said in one incident wildlife rangers arrived at a Baka village in WWF-marked cars and beat villagers who were forced to flee. A young girl and an elderly man later died of their injuries.

Survival said "green colonialism" is not just destroying lives but also harming conservation.

"Scapegoating tribal people diverts action away from tackling the real causes of environmental destruction in the Congo Basin: logging and corruption," it said.

Read more on:    drc  |  central africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.