Africa Speaks – Conservation Management – What do these terms mean?

After World War II, the League of Nations was dismantled and replaced by a new international organisation which called itself The United Nations (the UN). In 1948, the UN created a sub-division of its responsibilities which it called the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). UNEP’s purpose was to address itself to all matters pertaining to the environment.

Dividing its responsibilities, UNEP established a sub-group which it called the International Union for the Preservation of Nature (IUPN). The purpose of the IUPN was to address all matters pertaining to man’s ‘use’ of wild living resources (wild plants and wild animals). And the IUPN invited the world’s sovereign states to join it as paying members; and to thereby generate funds enough to have the IUPN function as the world’s leading authority (and policeman) on all wildlife management matters. In this endeavour it failed miserably.

The problem, it seems, was in the new organization’s name. The dictionary told the nations of the world that “preservation” was “the act, process, or result of preserving something: such as the activity or process of keeping something valued alive, intact, or free from damage or decay. And many governments did not approve. In those days, just after the end of World War II, there was an abundance of wild animals, fish, grassland and forest timber that the governments of the world wanted to exploit on a sustainable basis. And they were afraid that if they joined the IUPN they would be forbidden to ‘use’ these resources. This, however, is NOT what the IUPN had intended.

An impasse was avoided in 1956 by the simple process of changing the organization’s name. The International Union for the “Preservation” of Nature (IUPN) became The International Union for the “Conservation” of Nature (IUCN). In the process UNEP clarified its interpretations and intentions with regard to the words “PRESERVATION” and “CONSERVATION”.

The meaning of the word “CONSERVATION” (from 1956 onwards) – because of its juxtaposed position with ‘PRESERVATION” – was clarified to mean the “sustainable use” (of an abundant (SAFE) living resource – plant or animal) for the benefit of mankind; which can also be interpreted as meaning “population utilization/maintenance management”.

The meaning of the word “PRESERVATION”, on the other hand (after 1956), became identified with the management of UNSAFE species of both plants and animals – i.e. those with small and/or or declining populations –  which, if they are to survive at all, require the application of “NO USE AT ALL” management, or “protection from all harm”.

The concept of “wildlife management”, generally, means the action that man takes to achieve a ‘desired by man objective’.  It is, therefore, an artifact of man. Wildlife management is: man conceived; man designed; man manipulated; man implemented; and man is the principle beneficiary.  Why is man the principle beneficiary? Because it is man’s objective that is attained.

National parks administrations all over the world decided that man’s primary management goal in a national park should be to maintain species diversity. No single species should be afforded greater concern to the park authorities than any other. Elephants or tigers or tourism, for example, should not, individually, be given any greater consideration than that afforded to the park’s butterflies or salamanders.

Regrettably the animal rights movement has hi-jacked all these realities. They now call themselves the “conservation community” implying that they are the only people who practice “true conservation”. And that is not true.  They don’t practice “conservation” at all.

A person or an organisation that purports to support ‘conservation’ actually supports the sustainable wise-use of ‘SAFE’ plant and animal populations for the benefit of mankind.  A SAFE animal population is one that occupies its habitat in a number that conforms to the habitat’s sustainable carrying capacity. A SAFE animal population is one that is ‘managed’ according to the principles of “conservation management” (a.k.a. maintenance management)’ which requires that the population be maintained in numerically stable numbers by the annual act of culling. Culling is the management action that, every year, removes the population’s numerical increment (the annual and natural population increase). And the reason they do that is to make sure the population does not become ‘excessive” (too many).

Real animal rightists are people who strive to ABOLISH all animal ‘uses’ by man; and they refute the need for man to ‘manage’ wild animal populations in any way at all.  And why do they do that? They do that to fraudulently extract large sums of money from the gullible and ignorant public that lives in the First World’s big inner cities. So, they know no better! And the public donations thus accrued then flow into the coffers of the animal rightist NGOs.

The animal rights movement, therefore, is the biggest confidence industry the world has ever known.  It functions like a traditional Al Capone-style mafia syndicate which means it “IS” organised crime. We will expand on this theme in the next article.

Article no 3 written for Country Squire Magazine by Ron Thomson

Ron Thomson

I am NOT a ‘trophy hunter’ - and never have been. I am not involved in the trophy hunting safari business. I am also not a game rancher. But I have ‘administratively controlled’ professional hunters and safari outfitters in my capacity as a government game warden. I am an 80 year old ex-game warden with 60 years of continuous experience in hands-on wildlife management, and national park management, in Africa (1959 to 2019). In breakdown, I have 24 years experience in the management of national parks in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe - and in the management of the wild animal populations that lived inside those national parks; one year as the Chief Nature Conservation of the Ciskei in South Africa; three years as Director of the Bophuthatswana National Parks Board in South Africa; and I worked for three years as a professional hunter in the South African Great Karoo (taking foreign hunters on quests for plains game trophies). I discovered, however, that professional hunting was not my forte. I worked as an investigative wildlife journalist for 30 years in South Africa. I have written fifteen books and hundreds of magazine articles on the subject of wildlife management and big game hunting in Africa. Five of my books are university-level text books on wildlife management. I am a university-trained ecologist; was a member of the Institute of Biology (London) for 20 years; and was a registered chartered biologist for the European Union for 20 years. I have VAST experience in the “management hunting” of elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and hippos (as part of my official national park work in the control of problem animals); and I pioneered the capture of black rhino in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley (1964 - 1970). My university thesis was entitled: “The Factors Affecting the Survival and Distribution of Black Rhinos in Rhodesia”. Look at my personal website if you want any further details about my experience:

Ron Thomson has 246 posts and counting. See all posts by Ron Thomson

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