Should we ban trophy hunting in Zimbabwe?
In a recent CNBC article by Zack Guzman, published this week, there are concerns that a knee jerk ban on trophy hunting could be detrimental to the Zimbabwean economy. The article quotes Amy Dickman, a researcher with WILDCRU, the team that were studying Cecil the lion along with other animals, as saying,
“If you completely stop something like hunting, it will have an economic impact,” she told CNBC. “While that might help conservation in the short-term, there aren’t any guarantees (that) others won’t find economic reasons like mining to destroy habitats that trophy hunting has shared an incentive to protect.”*
I am as sorry as everyone else that beautiful wild animals are killed for their body party and our vanity, but I am sorry too for the poor families who struggle for survival in areas where they have no means to earn a living. These people need to eat, and it is very easy for us to judge over the glass of wine that follows our evening meal.
In my very naive, unqualified opinion. I think that this whole area has suffered from too many well-meaning, badly considered & self-serving international decisions. Africa is a vibrant continent, home to many nationalities. We have a history of imposing rule, then turning our backs and leaving fledgling nations broke and alone, at risk of total indebtedness to countries who have lots of money & no respect for human rights.
The situation is not ideal. We arguably facilitated the move to democracy in many of them from almost no vote to universal suffrage with the full knowledge that our own road to democracy was gradual, and processes and checks and balances were in place to manage the growing electoral base. Experienced and skilled government bodies and NGOs monitored and held government to account. Not so in the African countries that Europe once ruled.
We have smugly watched these far away countries falter & fail. The Right Wingers have had their say, while the Lefties tut in disgust before crossing these crime torn, poverty-stricken regions off their holiday lists.
Power mad people have grabbed control, and we have sat immune, griping only when economic migrants flood into the West which quite honestly, doesn’t want them. We then say we will process and decide who has come here for Asylum worthy reasons. Ummm, starvation causes death too, though perhaps slower than a machete.
We cannot have it both ways. Africa is run by Africa now, Beijing has poured money in since we walked away with our cheque book. We seldom more than skim read anything about Africa’s achievements, but seem to delight in her plight. Our own countries are struggling as the world power bases shift. Maybe it’s time to stop playing the fiddle while Rome burns, and regain what influence we still can in Africa by building an alternative solution to the one offered by China & Russia.
Last word – Corrupt governments have little use for land that doesn’t bring in cash. If it doesn’t earn its keep as grazing, it will have to earn its keep some other way. If there are minerals, it’ll be mined. If there aren’t any, it’ll be farmed by unskilled subsistence farmers until it becomes barren, after the trees are cut down for fuel. Africa is not a zoo that must be kept pristine by poor people in case we want to visit one day. One day? When peace and stability magically return,long haul flights get cheaper, and we once again have comfortable access to the game park of the world for a week each year?
If we want to conserve and reserve these beautiful areas, we need to help, partnership & assist. This part of the world has had enough dictatorship.
Citation : Article refers CNBC article, Photos courtesy of Ernie Van Staden. Don’t steal, just ask.
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