2015-01-16 12:27

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is inviting interested people to participate in a symposium next month “somewhere near Johannesburg”. This is the IUCN’s response to the deteriorating state of affairs vis-a-vis the poaching of Africa’s valuable wildlife and the rural people’s attitude towards it. The catalogue of topics they invite delegates to address, suggests that they want to review of the current status quo. Participants, it seems, will be expected to evaluate what has been done to date, and to make recommendations for improvement.

Nowhere is there any suggestion that the ‘causes’ of the poaching be evaluated or discussed - which means the IUCN is happy with its own ideas about that topic.

There are two kinds of people ostensibly trying to solve the wildlife poaching conundrum today. Those who support the sustainable use of wildlife in the interest of mankind; and animal rightists - those purpose is to abolish ALL animal ‘uses’ by man. The solution, however, is NOT total protection!

The causes of the current commercial wildlife poaching pandemic - at grassroots level - are poverty and unemployment. And 25 percent of South Africa’s people have been poverty-stricken and unemployed since 1994 and before. This is where the international poaching syndicates find their foot soldiers - to do the killing; and this cohort of our society is a bottomless pit because these poor people will do anything to survive.

This is the problem we have to solve, and which we have to write into the solutions that we must find to save our wildlife from what appears to be inevitable extinction. Today there is an estimated 650 million people living in Africa South of the Sahara. By 2100 that number will have swollen to 2.5 billion (UN statistics). This reality cannot be ignored. It, too, has to be addressed.

We have to find a way, therefore, to integrate the ‘needs’ of our wildlife with the ‘needs’ of our people - which means, in effect, we have to look towards solutions to the poaching problem that will relieve poverty and unemployment through the sustainable ‘use’ (in every dimension) of our wild animals. And we need to maximise the financial returns from this “use” if we are to make even a dent in the long term poverty and unemployment stakes.

The only way this can be achieved is for society to start thinking about our wild animals as wild ‘products of the land’ – as cattle sheep and goats are tame ‘products of the land’. Both should used sustainably and wisely for the benefit of Africa’s people. And the most lucrative way to harvest the cream of our wild animals is by hunting them - and by selling them (AND our harvestable wildlife products - like rhino horn) to the highest bidder.

Unfortunately the IUCN - ever since it opened its doors to people who disapprove of the ‘sustainable use’ of our living resources concept - have developed a virulent antagonism towards hunting and hunters. They are now publicly attacking HRH Prince Charles - heir to the British throne - because he is a hunter. This is despicable conduct and quite contrary to the provisions of IUCN’s mission statement, the World Conservation Strategy. Hunting is, and always has been, one of the principle tools of wildlife management and I would like to hear how the IUCN’s tries to wriggle out of this contradiction.

Africa doesn’t need ‘advice’ from organisations like the IUCN, WWF and CITES as they are presently constituted. All three of these once pristine and honourable organisations have allowed themselves to be very seriously contaminated by the animal rights doctrine - which is totally incompatible with the principles and practices of science-based wildlife management.   Although the subject is dear to my heart - and although I have advanced ideas about the solution to Africa’s commercial poaching problem - I am not prepared to share any space with the IUCN, WWF and CITES. I turn my back of them and urge all other responsible people in the wildlife industry to do the same. To do otherwise is to consort with people who are the enemies of our wild animals and our national parks.

News24 Voices Terms & Conditions.


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

Join the conversation! 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 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.