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The greatest threat Part 2

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Conservationists during the colonial era established game reserves and national parks from which rural people were evicted and the natural resources locked away behind game fences. Rural people were not allowed access to these resources any longer but towards the end of the colonial era, although there was smoldering resentment at having been evicted from their original lands, most rural black people were still reasonably content with their living conditions.

Families (averaging 8 people) had enough land on which to grow subsistence crops and communal grazing lands on which to feed their domestic cattle and goats. However with the growth of Africa’s population, rural communities were by the year 2000, under severe strain to survive on their land and they looked across the game fences and resentment grew against the wildlife authorities who refused them access to what they perceived to be "their" natural resources. With increasing unemployment, poverty and hunger it should come as no surprise that Africa is witnessing a dramatic rise in subsistence poaching that has been termed the "bush meat trade".

Conflicts between wildlife protection agencies and impoverished and hungry communities bordering on protected wildlife areas are also steeply on the rise and will continue to do so as people become more desperate to "illegally" use natural resources for their survival.

Africa’s population, poverty and poaching

The same small piece of land that could support 8 people in the 1950’s was now unable to support 40 people in the year 2000

It was announced in September 2009 by an international food aid agency that the number of hungry, malnourished and starving people had for the first time in mans history topped the one billion mark! It was also stated that a child dies somewhere in the world from hunger related causes every 6 seconds – this equates to 600 an hour or 14 400 every 24 hours.

It was announced in the same month that the world population had reached seven billion and was still growing – especially in undeveloped or developing nations!

By the year 2000 rural populations in Africa had increased five fold and were doubling every 20 years. The same small piece of land that could support 8 people in the 1950’s was now unable to support 40 people in the year 2000. With current trends being perpetuated there will be no less than 80 people trying to wrest a living from the same piece of land by the year 2020 and 160 by 2040.

Global warming, it is predicted, will also have a significant affect on land productivity in Africa in the foreseeable future and the problems of hunger and disease are set to increase and be made worse by drought, localized flooding and other global climatic anomalies.

A large proportion of hungry and poverty stricken peoples are situated on the continent of Africa. The huge bush meat poaching pandemic across the continent is poverty, hunger and population driven. To refuse people access to or utilization of Africa’s wild animal and plant resources will result in conflict on an unprecedented scale. Paramilitary type ranger forces will never be able to stem the tide.

The only hope for Africa’s wildlife is to use it for the benefit of the masses in a sustainable way so that it can in some way provide relief from poverty and hunger.

Locking up resources

If all the animal rights activists got to together in one place would they be prepared to commit mass suicide in the interests of relieving the pressure on "mother earth’s" natural resources?

Locking away and denying access to natural resources or limiting the options in which they may be sustainably utilized is no answer to the problem and in fact is a sure way of exacerbating the unchecked and illegal utilization currently underway. Many conservation authorities in countries in Africa, of which a number are to be found in South Africa, will have to undergo a colonial era mindset change, if wildlife is to survive.

We cannot afford to not utilize wildlife products and ecotourism in and of itself is not the answer.

It might provide jobs and poverty alleviation for a small number of the disenfranchised populace but if the majority does not benefit directly in some meaningful way – like food on the table or money in the pocket – wildlife conservation and preservation efforts on this continent are doomed to failure.

It must never be forgotten that in Africa majority rules – and the majority are poor and hungry! To allow people with limited vision and / or animal rights groups to advocate policies of non-utilization is to invite disaster of unprecedented magnitude. It is these people, animal right’s activists and ironically, many conservationists in wildlife agencies who persist with a with a "lock – away" attitude, that are the greatest threat to Africa’s wildlife.

The greatest threat

Animal rights groups pose the biggest threat to not only Africa’s wildlife but also to the rest of the world’s biodiversity. On the surface their agenda might sound laudable – even noble – to protect animals from abuse and cruelty. However they don’t stop there they advocate NO USE of ANY animal products – domestic or wild!

They oppose:

  • Annual culling of safe animal populations

  • Recreational, subsistence and trophy hunting

  • The practice of capture / translocation / sale of wild animals for commercial purposes

  • The sustainable harvest of abundant wild animal species

  • Recreational fishing

  • Commercial fishing

  • Trapping (to control problem animals)

  • Trapping (for food or fur)

  • Domestic stock farming

  • Animal right activists insist that humans should obtain all their nutritional requirements from plants alone and that man should refrain from eating any kind of animal protein.

    How are you going to sell this philosophy to anyone who is jobless, poor and starving who looks across a game fence and sees thousands of wild animals not being utilized?

    A question often comes to mind: If all the animal rights activists got to together in one place would they be prepared to commit mass suicide in the interests of relieving the pressure on "mother earth’s" natural resources? I very much doubt it. I believe the instinctive drive of self preservation runs as strongly in their veins as in that of a starving rural peasant!

    This question leads to another: Do animal rights and other radical environmental activists see human population as the primary cause of environmental problems and surreptitiously approve of mass die offs of people due to war, disease or hunger? Hmmmm I wonder?

    As has already been mentioned, the naivety of the animal rights proponents is exposed by their promoting a vegan diet. They seem to be ignorant of the fact that vegetables have to be farmed and these farms were once wildlife habitat and that they preserve less biodiversity than either domestic stock or game ranches.

    Now you might laugh at the stupidity and short sightedness of animal rights groups but you will be unpleasantly surprised to discover that many African conservation agencies are dictated to by these organizations.

    These are powerful lobby groups and they can exert considerable pressure on governments and conservation bodies to do their bidding. A good example is where the National Parks Board of Southern Africa was stopped with the elephant culling in the Kruger National Park in 1994 by an animal rights activist. Wildlife scientists know that if elephant numbers are not reduced it will lead to loss of biodiversity and yet they do nothing to reduce the numbers. They dilly-dally with alternatives they know are impractical and so cow to the whims of the animal rights pressure groups.

    These organizations have exerted their influence on international conservation bodies such as the IUCN, CITES and WWF.

    Animal rights activist groups are holding many countries in Africa and elsewhere to ransom. This is usually done through a number of mechanisms.

    Do animal rights and other radical environmental activists see human population as the primary cause of environmental problems - surreptitiously approve of mass murder, war and deaths from disease or hunger?

    Donor funding: These organizations donate money to conservation agencies (governmental, private and NGO’s) but stipulate that the funding is linked to certain conditions. These conditions usually specify that there may be no culling, hunting, sustained harvest or live sale of game. Donor funding comes at a price and virtually strips the wildlife manager of all his tools available for managing wildlife populations or for generating income (other than "ecotourism") from wild animal resources.

    Boycotting wildlife products: Animal rights groups actively boycott and encourage the boycotting on the use of any product of animal origin such as fur and hides, hunting trophies, ivory and horns, and meat.

    Negative publicity: These groups portray hunters and conservationists who use the standard tools of wildlife management (culling, capture, harvesting, and hunting of wild animals) as "butchers" and so break down the image of hunters and wildlife professionals. They use the media – press, radio, television and wildlife publications to denigrate hunters and wildlife managers. In a recent South African environmental magazine which runs regular anti-hunting articles the writer made the following statements:

    "Within Botswana’s ecotourism industry, word is in the air that the trophy hunting sector is about to undergo a major review. Talk varies from a total ban on trophy hunting to the industry being marginalized….. and quotas being cut.

    Earlier this year, one of the countries (South Africa) largest corporate institutions cancelled an organized hunting trip for its clients because of complaints received from other clients and anti-hunting groups.

    Why should we not be entitled to ask the question: how appropriate is it that we kill large numbers of wild animals for fun? (Africa Geographic August 2009 p.26)

    "It is my suspicion that trophy hunting will….be exposed as having been more of a conservation con that an effective wildlife management tool.

    I advocate that the Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game and the Safari Club International Record Book be discontinued" (Africa Geographic September 2009 p.28)

    "Buying" senior conservation or government officials: They use various means of coercion / bribery / corruption to force senior conservation officials, government officials or influential academics to implement "non-utilization" strategies.

    They exploit emotionalism as a tool: Sensation and emotionalism are exploited to the extent that reason and logic are relegated to issues of non-importance. They will show heart rending photographs of young elephant that have been culled but will never show photographs of denuded and degraded habitat which has resulted in loss of biodiversity.

    Animal right’s groups are very radical and go to extremes to further their causes. Two groups are even listed in the USA as domestic terrorist organizations. These are the militant Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front. Some members of these groups are on the most-wanted list of criminals in the United States.

    On the 20th December 2005, the Washington Post issued a press release that the FBI were making terror inquiries into the activities of another well known animal rights movement – PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). In May 2005 the FBI’s assistant director for counter terrorism reported that "environmental and animal rights militants posed the biggest terrorist threats in the United States…" A June 2002 FBI communiqué cites a source offering information on Greenpeace regarding "activists who show a clear predisposition to violate the law".

    During the Animal Right’s 2001 Conference comments made in open session advocated the use of some of the following tactics:

  • Intimidation of wives and children

  • Bomb threats

  • Harassment of individuals

  • Break-ins and destruction of property

  • Propagandizing and energizing the young especially radicals in their teens who will take risks

  • Use "comely" people (i.e. good looking, celebrities, influential) as spokespersons and always appear rational and reasonable

  • Destroy key businesses, business leaders and other opponents

  • Break up traditions

  • Disrupt lawmaking

  • No one owns a pet

  • Always keep an eye out for floating radicals who can help

  • Lying, cheating and "anything else" is justified.

  • Confront anyone wearing fur and intimidate them.

  • Use any tactics to put fur stores out of business.

  • Oppose any forms of hunting (including subsistence hunting by indigenous people).

  • Break up organized hunts.

  • Divide hunters.

  • Teach children to hate hunting.

  • Oppose sport and commercial fishing etc.

  • A June 2002 FBI communiqué cites a source offering information on Greenpeace regarding "activists who show a clear predisposition to violate the law".

    Clearly these organizations are illogical, far removed from and out of touch with reality - and simply stated, dangerous to both society at large and the future of wildlife in particular. They have programs in place that, if successful, will stop all pro-active wildlife management that will lead to the demise of national parks and the private wildlife initiative as well.

    Most (if not all) people belonging to these groups are financially comfortable (by African or other poverty standards), have houses to live in, secure jobs and never go to bed hungry. This "movement" started in the USA and spread to affluent European and Scandinavian countries. Many branches or affiliates exist all over the world. Some of the animal rights organizations are the following:

  • PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

  • ALF (Animal Liberation Front)

  • ELF (Earth Liberation Front)

  • HSUS (Humane Society of the United States)

  • The Farm Sanctuary

  • In Defence of Animals
    Greenpeace

  • The Animal Institute

  • The Doris Day Animal League

  • The Fund for Animals

  • Who do they recruit?

    People who are recruited by animal rights movements are generally very gullible because they have lost touch with or have very real contact with nature "in the raw" and are very unenlightened when it comes to wildlife matters. Many animal rights supporters have a genuine concern for animals but they are highly susceptible to animal rights propaganda. Even the founders of animal rights movements may have started off with genuine (but sorely misguided) feelings about the rights of animals but once their livelihoods became dependent on their propaganda they resorted to use any means to justify their continued existence.

    As stated in their 2001 conference – the end justifies the means therefore lying, cheating and "anything else" is justified. This they have exploited to the full.Many hardcore people in the animal rights industry don’t really care about animals at all because if they did some careful thought and introspection would show that the strategies they propagate will in fact be harmful to biodiversity in the long run. The only logical conclusion that one can draw about their continued involvement is that they are hooked into one of life’s foibles which they can exploit for their own purposes and or self enrichment.

    The type of people they recruit are:

  • Young, unenlightened radicals looking for a cause.

  • Elderly, unenlightened individuals that have money to donate to "the cause".

  • Unenlightened people with LOTS of money to spare (large sums of which are to be donated to "the cause"). Movie stars, and other wealthy individuals who wish to be seen as being pro-environmentalist, are favourite targets.

  • They exploit the fact that people don’t know better or are too far removed from reality to know the real facts on the ground. The people they recruit are also well fed, employed and living comfortably when compared to the rural African peasant.

    They do not know nor understand (or care) what it means to see your children going hungry to bed, not knowing where or when the next meal is coming from, or what goes through the heart of a mother or father when a child that has died of starvation is planted back into the soil of Africa. The non-utilization cause which includes a ban on hunting for which animal rights activists are pressing, smacks of nothing less than gross hypocrisy.

    Credible wildlife scientists and researchers with excellent reputations are of the opinion that wildlife resources must be used on a sustainable basis and this includes all forms of legal hunting – sport, trophy and subsistence. They also state quite categorically that animal rights activists are out of touch with reality and that their contributions are more a hindrance than a help:

    "Now that I am free to state my own position on hunting without weighing in on one side or the other while acting as moderator of the debate I would like the record to show that I thoroughly agree with Rod East’s pro hunting arguments expressed in the African Antelope Database 1998. …..I know that the animal rights movement is hurting rather than helping wildlife conservation. Their activists are part of the problem and not the solution……as a student of behaviour I place the highest value on living animals and refrain from hunting them but attempts to ban hunting make conservation that much harder and ignore the biological reality that every normal population produces a surplus which, if not kept in check by mortality equal to the rate of increase, would soon outstrip its resources (Dr. Richard D. Estes – Chair (IUCN Antelope Specialist Group, February 2002).

    "Agitation against sustainable trophy hunting by animal rights groups in western countries is a major threat to the future of Africa’s wildlife. It is not only a new form of colonialism but it would also result in the rapid destruction of Africa’s remaining wildlife resources by removing the economic justification for their conservation". (IUCN Antelope Database, R. East).

    "Conservation will not succeed with full effectiveness in Africa without hunting. Our constitution supports sustainable use and sustainable hunting is one form thereof." (Dr. Rob Little, World Wildlife Fund SA, February 2002).

    Cleve Cheney is a wilderness trail leader, rated field guide instructor and the author of many leading articles on the subjects of tracking, guiding, bowhunting and survival. Cleve has unrivalled experience in wildlife management, game capture and hunting, both with bow and rifle.
    Click here to visit his site

    "The sustainable utilization of wild animals through trophy hunting offers economic incentives to the local rural population, reduces poaching and offers incentives to conserve critical habitat (Klaus Töpfer. Executive Director UNEP, 2001).

    Today sport hunting is an important factor in generating substantial revenues for wildlife management and it is, therefore, one of the best ways to conserve biodiversity (John Ledger, 1994).

    In Community Based Natural Resource Management schemes, sport hunting often delivers important contributions to the financial results.

    Revenue earned through sport hunting is a major conservation incentive for rural people.


    • Finding Jimmy •
    • Bardot and Elephant Culling •
    • Rhino in the bathroom •
    • The greatest threat Part 1 •
    • The greatest threat Part 2 •
    • Rhino Wars •
    • You cannot eat money •
    • Giant Sable •
    • Why are cows not endangered? •
    • Wildlife in Zambabwe •
    • Hunt elephant in the Kruger •
    • Where is the Ethos? •
    • The Palanca First Trimester •
    • Unwelcome strangers •
    • Palanca Report 1st Trimester 2014 •


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