AFRICA’S WILDLIFE ARMAGEDDON (4)

Africa’s final battle to save its wildlife and its national parks

In the third essay in this series I made a statement to the effect that the integrities of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), had degenerated so badly in recent years that they are no longer worthy of the support of honest and responsible people in society. In fact, these U.N. wildlife organisations are now such a serious deterrent to the proper and honest science-based wildlife management practices in Africa that I believe African states should withdraw all official relations with them.

Note: I say “honest science-based wildlife management practices” – because many wildlife (and other) scientists today are no longer honest to their professions. Many wildlife scientists, for example, are funded by animal rights NGOs and they now sprout raw animal rightist propaganda on radio, on television and in the press. These include scientists who have contrived responsibility for wildlife management programmes in our national parks.   This says volumes about the morass into which our one time justly proud national parks and wildlife management organizations have sunk. It must also warn us that the animal rightists are using this route to gain control over wildlife management practices in Africa’s most treasured protected areas.

If a scientist’s opinions and conclusions can be swayed by money,

he is not a scientist at all, but his ‘paymaster’s puppet’.

 Unfortunately, the public don’t know this. When a professor of wildlife management stands up in public and make’s wildlife management pronouncements that have no basis in fact, and which are not supported by science-based wildlife management principles, the man-in-the-street will not pick up the deception and he cannot be blamed for believing what he hears – when the man saying it is “a professor in one of the wildlife management sciences”.   In this manner many incorrect statements are broadcast by “professors” or “learned doctors” and the public is duped. The general public, remember, is not imbued with great wildlife management and ecological knowledge. When people of apparent authority – like a professor or a doctor – say something (anything) the public tend to believe it; and the scientific fraternity are greatly at fault, generally, for not contesting, correcting or verifying, erroneous (or even just dubious) statements when they become controversial.

One very senior (retired) scientist in South Africa – who wrote to me out of the blue – agreed with my public criticisms of the statements made by certain professors – and he encouraged me to continue ‘the good fight’ – but, when I asked him to come out of his closet, he stated that because he was now retired he no longer wished to enter into what he knew would become a public dog fight. And I have had similar discussions with other honourable scientists. The scientific community generally, in fact, remains mum over most wildlife controversies. They neither take my side of the debate nor the other side; and they condemn nobody. So whatever has been said remains – in the public mind – FACT!

This is a major reason why the animal rightist NGOs are winning the war for the hearts and minds of society in southern Africa. It is also why the animal rightist NGOs are being integrated so easily into international wildlife organizations like the IUCN, WWF and CITES; and by national First World government organizations like the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

It grieves me – greatly – to have made my statement (in the last – the third – article of this series) that the IUCN has fallen from grace. It grieves me because I have held that organisation in the highest esteem for such a long time. But I cannot ignore the facts; and although I have said them before, I am going to repeat them again now. I repeat it in this article because it is VITAL that people all over the world understand just WHAT has been going on inside the IUCN.

In 1980 the IUCN produced the World Conservation Strategy (WCS) – which nailed the IUCN’s colours to the mast. The WCS is/was the IUCN’s mission statement (in full measure). In 1986 The IUCN was still resolute in its determination to honour its ‘conservation of living resources’ obligation to the world – because that year it tactically eliminated the possibility of having animal rightists infiltrate the organization. It did this by introducing a new requirement in the application for IUCN membership by insisting that all new applicants endorse their support for the WCS. This was a justifiable requirement which is supported by good business management practices.

         The relevant business management principle states that: an organization will fail if it harbours

         members that do not work towards its mission objectives – and especially when it’s members

         actively engage in activities that are designed to sabotage the attainment of those objectives.  

The third objective of what the WCS called “living resource conservation” states:

         To ensure the sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems (notably fish and other wildlife;

         forests and grazing lands), which support millions of rural communities as well as major industries.

Note: This includes the “sustainable utilization of fish and other wildlife” for both commercial and subsistence purposes. Furthermore, the “sustainable utilization of other wildlife (wild animals)” has, since time immemorial, has been carried out by way of hunting; and the “sustainability” of hunting can only be achieved by way of condoned and controlled hunting practices. I have no idea how else the “sustainable utilization of wild animals” can be carried out other than through hunting; and hunting results in the killing of animals. This must have been clearly understood by the IUCN in 1980 when the World Conservation Strategy was promulgated.

After 1980, however – since the IUCN opened its membership doors to everybody in creation (including the animal rights brigade) – the IUCN has become virulently “anti-hunting” and it has, in the most undignified manner imaginable, hounded and embarrassed, the highest profile people in world society because they are hunters. HRH King Carlos of Spain has been figuratively whipped in public because he is a hunter. HRH Prince Charles (and the younger princes) in the British royal family have been similarly abused.   And the IUCN now makes no bones about its current anti-hunting and anti-hunter opinions.

It is a general animal rights objective to stop all hunting!

If it is so antagonistic towards hunting, how then does the IUCN, expect to achieve the third objective of its “living resource conservation” ethic – when hunting is the only real “sustainable utilization” option that is capable of achieving this objective? The simple answer is that it can’t; and that means the IUCN will fail in its efforts to achieve the objectives of its mission statement (the WCS).

All this has happened SINCE the IUCN opened its membership doors to the animal rights brigade.

What better example is there than this, to vindicate the veracity of the business management principle mentioned above – that businesses and organizations will fail if their members do not all strive to attain their mission objectives? So it validates, too, my statement that the IUCN is being destroyed from within. And it clearly certifies that the animal rightists have successfully infiltrated the IUCN – which they have been trying to do since the early 1980s – and that they are now succeeding in reversing ALL those (sustainable use) provisions of the WCS of which they disapprove.

         It does not require the righteousness of a cause, or a majority, to prevail – but rather a tireless

         and fanatical minority keen to set brushfires in people’s minds. There is nothing “right” about

         what the animal rightists are trying to achieve – the abolition of ALL animal uses by man – but

         they are winning the war (for the hearts and minds of society) because their strategy has been

         constant, relentless and enduring over the last 30 years and more.

It is truly a good time NOW, therefore, for all sovereign states that cherish what is “right” to abandon this now leprous ship. The IUCN is foundering – badly. It has abandoned the principles which caused its state members to join the organization in years gone by; it is abandoning the principles of its mission; and it is now just another fellow traveler of the animal rights brigade. Sadly and as much as I hate to have to admit this – because of its current prohibitionist tendencies – the IUCN it is now an impediment to the successful application of science-based and responsible wildlife management practices in Africa.

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Now we can get back to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

CITES was created in 1975 for the express purpose of stopping the illegal international wildlife trade. Its purpose (then) was understandable and supportable. One of the biggest contributing factors to the illegal trade was the fact that once any kind of wildlife contraband had crossed a country’s international borders – and had entered another country – there was no way the producer-country could do anything about it. CITES, therefore, contrived to get every country in the world to work together to help stop the illegal trade. It set about this task by getting every sovereign state to join the convention and to get each member to embrace common rules of engagement.

In theory, every country in the world COULD suffer the consequences of the seemingly uncontrollable international black market in wildlife and wildlife products. It made sense, therefore, to get every sovereign state in the world to cooperate; and to subject itself to the CITES rules. Since 1975, 180 countries – from all corners of the globe – have become signatories to the convention.

In order to impose a universally applicable, and workable, set of international trade rules on every member of the convention – equally – it was deemed necessary for every signatory (every sovereign state member) to surrender its sovereign right to trade in its own wildlife, and in its own wildlife products. The responsibility for controlling the international trade in those commodities, thereafter, devolved to the convention. This did not mean these countries could not trade in their own wildlife and wildlife products. It meant that they could only do so under a strict CITES permit system.

The items comprising the international wildlife trade, therefore, could not legally travel from one international destination to another, without complying FULLY with the CITES permit system.   Any wildlife, or the products of wildlife, therefore, that did not travel with CITES certification, was considered illegal and it could be seized by the authorities of the country where it was intercepted.

On the surface, this system was deemed to be workable and acceptable to the signatories – who readily handed over, to the convention, their sovereign rights to trade in their own wildlife and wildlife products. They did this in the spirit of international cooperation and for the good of all concerned – and because they really believed that CITES would bring the illegal international wildlife trade to its knees.

The ‘parties’ or ‘signatories’ to the convention also agreed to abide by majority decisions made by the official delegates during the “conferences of the parties” (CoPs) – which were initially scheduled to take place every two years. They now take place every three years!

Each sovereign state is given ONE vote – which its delegate casts when called upon to do so by the CITES secretariat. Each conference lasts two weeks during which time every item on the agenda is thoroughly debated. Items – such as South Africa’s recent request to trade in rhino horn – are placed on the agenda by the sovereign states well before each CoP.   Voting determines the consensus opinion of the delegates present, on each and every issue on the agenda.

It is important to understand that when they signed to join CITES, the sovereign state agreed to abide by the consensus decisions made by the majority.

In retrospect, it has now been realised there was great naiveté in the whole CITES concept; and the return that many sovereign states have received from CITES – for passing on to CITES their sovereign rights to trade in wildlife and wildlife products – has NOT be handled honourably or responsibly. And it has left many countries doubting the wisdom of them signing the CITES accord in the first place.

One of the principal problems about CITES is the fact that many (the majority) of the current 180 delegates know nothing at all about most of the animals and/or plants they are required to vote upon – and even less about the complex issues of their individual proper management. How any intelligent person can believe that such people can make honest, responsible and pertinent decisions about the management needs of ANY such species is beyond my comprehension. Compounding this bewildering state of affairs is the very serious fact that the decisions these people make are often crucial to the continued existence of the species, vital to rural human communities that depend upon them for survival, and fundamental to the country’s economy. Furthermore, no CITES delegate has any accountability for bad decisions that he and his colleagues might make! It matters to them not at all, and it will affect them even less if their decision causes the extinction of the species concerned. Nevertheless, these unqualified arbiters of the world’s valuable wildlife resources continue to be entrusted with making these life-or-death decisions.

But there is more……

The CITES Secretariat – the senior and permanent office bearers who administer the convention in all its dimensions – and who guide the delegates in their deliberations – are well aware of the convention’s deficiencies in this regard. So they contrive – at every conference of the parties – to supply information sheets to the official delegates concerning the subject(s) on the agenda. This, however, is a pious gesture of little consequence because the decisions that have to be made really must be based on a deep insight into, and thorough knowledge about, the complexities of the subjects on the agenda. This is not an easy matter to resolve because most delegates do NOT have the necessary knowledge or the passion.

Understanding this, too, and in order to fill this gap, the secretariat – in its wisdom (or lack of it) – invited every Tom, Dick and Harry NGO to accredit themselves to CITES; and to make their knowledge and their expertise available to ‘inform’ the uninformed delegates. All that is required to achieve accreditation is that the NGO be registered as an NGO in their home country – in some discipline concerning wildlife and its management. The only difference between the official delegate and the NGO delegate is that the official delegate commands a vote; and that the accredited NGOs have NO vote.

Many (most) of these accredited NGOs are animal rightist in orientation. It is their purpose, therefore, to ABOLISH man’s use of animals in every dimension – including trade. One must, therefore, question the reason why they ever joined CITES – which is a United Nations sponsored organization that is designed to REGULATE the wildlife trade.

Accredited NGOs are able to participate in every capacity enjoyed by the official delegates. So they have FULL access, 24/7, to every official delegate that attends every conference. They may continue to have no “voting power”, therefore, but they now have HUGE “persuasion power”. The animal rightists NGO’s, of course, are delighted with this official access to the entire world’s wildlife-trade decision-making body. And, over the years, CITES has developed into the most powerful weapon in the animal rightists’ arsenal.

The NGO’s now wine and dine the official delegates at every CoP.   They take them on booze-cruise expeditions – wherever such are available. And they pay them huge outright bribes – to get them to vote on particular issues the way the NGO prescribes. Certain delegates have had ALL their expenses paid for, at every CoP, by their NGO friends. And those who have no particular interest in a subject make the NGO’s acquisition of their votes relatively easy.

Last year, in a video interview, Marco Pani, a former member of the CITES secretariat, had this to say about the convention:

         “CITES is a treaty to regulate international trade in wildlife; but from regulation, now we have a

         trend in recent years, that is going into prohibition. And this is not really helping some African

         countries which are very much devoting their efforts into proper management of elephants.

         “The recent trends in the international arena, has been mainly based on law enforcement and a

         reduction in the supply of ivory (as a commodity into the trade), world-wide.

 “But at a certain point the convention has lost part of its mandate – which was (originally) the

         proper regulation of true sustainable (wildlife) utilization.

 

       “(At CITES) the word ‘utilization’ has, unfortunately, almost disappeared.”

 Because it now harbours the enemy, CITES is now doomed,

 This is a sad synoptic reflection of what I have been predicting for CITES since 1989 – when the elephant was declared an ‘endangered species’ and the international ivory trade ban was instituted. And, in 1975, the convention had held so much promise! The causes of the changes that happened in CITES are – except for differences in application and execution – just the same as those which resulted in the erosion of the integrity of the IUCN… infiltration by the animal rights brigade!   In both cases U.N. sponsored international organizations that once advocated, promoted and regulated the sustainable use of living resources for the benefit of mankind, have been corrupted – and they have both now started promoting, instead, the animal rights doctrine. And many WWF offices – some more than others – have been spouting animal rights propaganda for an even longer period of time.

In 1989 the accredited animal rightists NGOs at CITES – notably the British-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) – contrived, with the help of a well-primed press, to have Eugene Lapointe fired – for exceeding his authority.   In 1989 Lapointe was the very pro-sustainable-use-of-wildlife Secretary General of CITES. The EIA succeeded – but it was a pyrrhic victory. Their subterfuge was exposed and, two years down the road, Lapointe was vindicated by the United Nations. Nevertheless, he lost his much treasured job.

This little story is a warning not to take the power and the determination of the animal rightists lightly. They are formidable opponents and they will penetrate every chink in our armour.

A friend of mine recently suggested that because the animal rightists are “with us” and are, seemingly, “here to stay” that we should accommodate them within society. That would be suicidal for our wildlife. Animal rightists are a destructive force in the world today – working against many civilized standards – and they need to be seriously marginalized if wildlife is to progress with mankind into posterity. I reminded my friend that paedophiles have been “with” mankind since time began so, “because they are seemingly here to stay” does that mean we must accommodate them in society, too. I don’t think so! We will probably never eliminate the animal rightists but, overtime, we might be able to push them underground; and that would be better than doing nothing at all.

At the moment the animal rightists are winning. Why? Because: “Evil succeeds wherever good men to nothing!” And that is exactly what is happening in southern Africa: “Good Men are doing NOTHING!”

There is a lot more to come!

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Publised in AFRICAN OUTFITTER magazine 2015

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Ron Thomson

RON THOMSON His passion, today, is concerned with creating a better informed society – better informed, that is, about “best practice” wildlife management and the wise and sustainable utilization of our wild living resources for the benefit of mankind. He has a strong and passionate commitment to exposing the menace and iniquities of the animal rights doctrine. He is a founding member of the True Green Alliance (TGA) and, for the duration of 2016, he was its President. In January 2017 he was appointed CEO. The TGA is affiliated to South Africa’s wildlife Industry insofar as it has undertaken to fight the industry’s battles to overcome pernicious opposition from the South African and international animal rights movement.

ron-thomson has 127 posts and counting.See all posts by ron-thomson

8 thoughts on “AFRICA’S WILDLIFE ARMAGEDDON (4)

  • June 3, 2017 at 12:34 pm
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    Good article but a bit too descriptive for me ; excellent work and thank you the author for his dedicated time in explanning the details ;perhaps as a suggestion could you have an executive view type of summary eg a shorter version of the key issues , inputs , outputs , conclusions , recommended actions .
    My contribution to our cause :
    Stopped donating money completely to all/any so called “conservation bodies” eg wwf’s ;ewsa, etc .
    Continue supporting my local hunting club.
    Maintain rifles licenses and dedicated hunter status.
    Continue seasonal legal hunting for venison meat .
    Continue visiting national parks and wilderness areas across the SADC countries as and when I can afford it.

    Regards to all.

    Reply
    • June 3, 2017 at 4:24 pm
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      Dear Joao,
      Well done. Keep doing the things you enjoy doing. Stop contributing money to the enemy – which, in this day and age I am afraid, includes the WWF.
      Just don’t forget about “little ol’ “us – the TGA – that is doing such as fine job setting us up to destroy the animal rights brigade – everyone’s “common enemy”.
      I will keep supplying blogs for our website, and articles for our Facebook – to keep everyone properly informed. I hope that you will continue to interact with us in these social media outlets. They are our life blood.
      With kind regards
      Ron

      Reply
      • June 8, 2017 at 7:29 pm
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        Hello Ron,

        I have enjoyed reading your articles very much, it is about time someone spoke up with facts, science and experience against those anti-hunters and the gibberish they spout. For way too long have we hunters sat on the “back benches” and simply tried to ignore what we deemed as “foolishness” but the time has come to stand up for what we believe in, sustainable management of all wildlife resources.

        I run a small website for hunters and I was wondering if I could get your permission to publish your “Armageddon” articles there?

        Best regards,
        Gudfinnur Kristjansson

        Reply
        • June 9, 2017 at 6:10 pm
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          Dear Gudfinnur,

          I am delighted that you are finding our website so interesting and informative.
          Be my guest. I would be delighted to have you broadcast the TGA message as far and as wide as we can make it go. We are not going to defeat the animal rightists by pussy-footing around. We have to take the bull by the horns….. and, once we have it in our harness, we are going to need lots of hands to hold it down
          Please keep in touch with the TGA – and consider becoming a member. We will not make the kind of impact we need to make until we have a broad based and active membership. So ask your readership to get involved, too. We need all the help we can get…. and we have only just started.

          With kind regards

          Ron Thomson

          Reply
          • June 10, 2017 at 5:31 pm
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            Hi Ron,

            Actually I have already sent in my membership form and done the EFT payment for the membership fee.

            Thank you so much for allowing me to publish your articles on the website and yes indeed I will urge the website users to get involved as well.

            Gudfinnur

  • October 25, 2017 at 6:49 pm
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    Personally I don’t quite understand and or appreciate the whole hunting concept. Trophy hunting to be specific, I don’t know if that is the one you and others are referring to. My reasons, based on the hunting I’ve seen being done in parts of Zimbabwe (since that’s where I come from) are that:
    1. Trophy hunting goes against nature. Out in the wild the animal that is to be hunted and taken down is the weakest one (the one with either genetic and or phenotypic defects, old ones which would have now become weak from aging, disabled etc). This therefore helps in natural selection i.e those that are still strong and young can continue living and breeding healthy offsprings. BUT then trophy hunting actually targets the strong, it targets those that have certain strong/positive physical characters to take down.
    2. The methods are inhumane and I find that totally unnecessary. For example Cecil the Lion, he had to go for 12 hours before they could finish him off after they use a bow and arrow at first and he endured the pain for all those hours. Now the only reason that story came out and went viral is only because it happened to a collared lion. Otherwise it is happening day in day out in the national parks all for money. I wouldn’t mind if the hunters would imitate the natural processes, go for the weak take those down preferably using modern guns which ensure faster deaths than a bow and arrow??

    I however agree with you about those organizations that you mentioned above and many others. If we look at the crisis that wildlife is in, then you see the fancy cars they drive in the name of the organizations, the fancy office buildings, workshops at fancy hotels they host, which are extremely expensive: If they could put all that money they waste in buying more and more land for wildlife, African wildlife would not be in such a bad place. But instead like you say, this has become more of a business to them so if they work on actually solving the problems then it means less money will be required. If the Rhino population stabilizes it means the Organization for Rhinos will shutdown then no more money for them. So actually these wildlife crisis are highly beneficial to some people that is why the proper steps to achieve true conservation are not being followed.

    Reply
    • October 26, 2017 at 8:08 am
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      Dear Evelyn,

      Wow! Still “MORE”. I am impressed.

      Re: Trophy Hunting. Trophy hunting does NOT “go against nature”. That idea is a fallacy put out by animal rightists in their propaganda to generate support for their overall goal – which is to stop ALL hunting. TRUE trophy hunting actually takes off the older animals – those that are past their prime – those that have normally stopped breeding. The oldest animals have the biggest horns – which only grow to full size at old age. They have passed on their genes long ago – when they were younger and stronger – and when they are “taken off” by a hunter they leave behind a whole phalanx of younger mature males that are actually constantly getting on with the job of mating with the females. Sure, I agree that it is good that inferior, sick and injured animals be removed from the breeding herds; but THEY are NOT the “only” ones that die. In nature ALL kinds of animals are taken off by predators (not JUST the weak ones) or they die of other natural causes. So we must not be drawn into the trap laid for us by the animal rightists that trophy hunters are actually removing the best quality breeding bulls. That is simply NOT TRUE. I am NOT a “trophy hunter” and I never have been, so I have no axe to grind on behalf of the trophy hunter. My interest is in getting society to support and achieve “what is best” for Africa’s wildlife – and what is best for Africa’s rural people! I tell the truth as I see it. And what I say here is “the truth!” Trophy hunting is NOT BAD for the gene pools of ANY animal species. How can I say that with such aplomb? Because every year trophy hunters continue to bring in trophies that equal or surpass previous world record horn lengths. And if trophy hunting was so bad for wild animal gene pools – as the animal rights keep telling the world – this would not happen. If it was bad for the gene pools, trophy sizes would be continually getting smaller – but THAT is not the case at all. In fact, quite the contrary.

      A different wildlife management perspective: I read a lot of animal rights influence in your statements – which is not surprising because the whole world is swamped with their propaganda. Just remember this: the animal rightists put out totally untrue statements in their propaganda for one purpose only – and THAT is to hype up public emotions in order for them to milk huge amounts of money from the gullible public. Their programmes have NOTHING to do with what is best for the animals they purport to care so much about. The big animal rightist NGOs make hundreds of millions of US dollars every year by way of their propaganda apparatus – which is their reason for existence – and it will take a lot of thought-adjustment on your part to distance yourself from what they say. The original “Cecil the Lion Story” was not true; or rather, it was a total distortion of the truth for the purpose of making a huge world-wide hullabaloo. The true story about Cecil the Lion was published by the TGA and is a matter of record on our website – so I will not elaborate further here. The fact that this lion was shot with a bow-and-arrow is true. The fact that it ran away wounded is also true – but it did not run far, and it was despatched the next morning just as soon as it had been tracked and found. Wounding happens when hunting takes place. It is not planned but it does happen! But it is NOT “the norm”. Most animals are shot cleanly and killed quickly. And bow hunting is an accepted means of hunting.
      In terms of perspective, the TGA looks upon wild animals as WILD “products of the land” – and cows, sheep and goats as TAME “products of the land” – BOTH of which should be harvested wisely and sustainably for the benefit of mankind. Tame products of the land are harvested by sending them, live, to the abattoir for slaughter; where their meat is processed and packaged for sale in our supermarkets. In the rural areas these animals are slaughtered – as per in biblical times – by having their throats cut (and they bleed to death). THIS is a fact of life in Africa – and elsewhere in the world – that has been going on since time began. Wild products of the land cannot be shipped off to the abattoir in lorries for slaughter. They also cannot be manhandled – as man does his cows – and have their throats cut. The only way wild animal can be harvested is by hunting. And THAT is a fact of life, too. Killing ANY animal is not a pleasant thing to do but it has to be done if man is to eat. And THAT is a fact of life, also. And all these facts of life have to be endured by man if he is to survive. It is not pleasant to watch an animal with its throat cut bleeding to death. It is also not pleasant to wound an animal and not kill it cleanly with a bullet. But such deaths are all part of living and we cannot avoid these realities.
      Hunting is an instinct – no matter what the animal rightists say – and both mentally and physically (psychologists and psychiatrists will tell you) it is not good for man to deny his instincts. Throughout America criminologists have discovered that in those counties where hunting is prevalent, the violent crime rate in human society is low; and vice versa. There is a direct link between the two. And wildlife ranching is a business – that, in South Africa, has resulted in three times (PLUS) as much land coming under wildlife business management than the total combined land sizes of the country’s national parks. There are 18 million wild animals currently residing on privately owned wildlife ranches in South Africa – where they are harvested heavily and sustainably for profit – compared to 6 million wild animals in the country’s national parks (including Kruger National Park which is nearly twice the size of Hwange) and in the government game reserves, combined. So there is absolutely no doubt that wise and sustainable hunting practices – including lion hunting – is GOOD for wildlife; and when it is conducted properly it is also GOOD for mankind. Society just has to allow itself the time and the opportunity to adapt and to adopt those practices that are in the best interests of both the wildlife AND mankind.
      I will drop you a line, by email, soon!

      Kind regards Ron Thomson

      Reply
  • October 26, 2017 at 1:30 pm
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    Hi Evelyn – I’m involved with Ron Thomson in TGA as a fellow director. Thank you for responding to Ron’s blogs.

    What you mention is not sustainable conservation. The manner in which some African politicians harvest wildlife is unsustainable exploitation. Ultimately they don’t care whether wildlife survives or not, so long as they’re able to stash-the-cash off-shore in foreign currency. The latter is also the reason why they don’t care if the economy crashes due to their unsustainable socio-economic policies. They’re relatively immune to the negative effects because their cash is invested off-shore.

    People might accuse the likes of Gran’pa Bob and Zum-Zum of being stupid because of their actions. They’re not stupid, they’re darned clever (and successful) at enriching themselves at the expensive of the country and its population.

    To determine the truth in what I’m postulating, consider what’s happened to the rhino population in Zim. When I first started hunting in the Zambezi valley, as a South African (I’m not an ex-Zimbabwean or Rhodesian) in the 1980’s, the area was full of rhino, one had to be careful of running foul of them. By the late 1990’s they were locally extinct, killed for the cash their horns earned. That’s not sustainable harvesting.

    Sustainable would’ve been to harvest the population at the rate in which they were breeding to replace the animals harvested (whether to the benefit of the politicians or the country).

    As an aside, I was concerned about the rhino poaching and asked local folk, like the staff we employed out of the Makuti township, why this couldn’t be stopped. They told me the Warden was involved and the poaching was under the control of high up politicians. So anti-poaching efforts, funded by stupid Euro-centric bleeding hearts animal activists, was directed to areas where they knew there were no poachers at the time, and directed away from areas where the “harvesters” were operating..!

    As a result, their attitude towards so-called wildlife conservation practised and enforced by National Parks, was cynical to say the least. To them, it was just another way of enriching the FatCats, whilst they were denied the opportunity of doing the same.

    The real custodians of the wildlife in most of Africa are the poorer folks living in the rural areas. If they don’t, somehow, benefit and be convinced of the merits of wildlife conservation, they will not support it and will climb in and get their share before it’s finished. I guess that’s what they call “the tragedy of the commons”.

    When Leakey motivated to have sport hunting banned in Kenya, the high-up politicians gleefully supported that because it rid the country of the hunting Outfitters and PH’s who were the mainstay of sustainable wildlife utilization and anti-poaching and who thwarted illegal activities involving wildlife. That allowed the politicians freedom to exploit the wildlife resource to their benefit.

    If that was done sustainably, it might not have been as bad. But it wasn’t.

    And the politicians’ self-enriching economic rationale was good. Why let some (mostly white) hunting operations earn the cash from wildlife, when they could stash-the-cash in their own pockets..!?

    I’m aware of the view of concerned people that hunting should be stopped in countries where there’s corruption and wildlife isn’t exploited sustainably. But that’s like saying all honest referees and administrators must get out of soccer because it’s corrupt. If that happens, the playing field is left to the crooks..! Trophy or sport hunting is not the reason why wildlife is diminishing unsustainably. The reason is corrupt governments.

    Therefore animal rightist, animal activists and bleeding hearts conservation activism shouldn’t be directed against hunting and killing of animals per se. It should be directed at assisting countries to educate the voting population and to get rid of corrupt governments. They should petition their governments to stop the flow of corrupt cash out of the countries of origin. It must stay at source. Corrupt politicians would then ultimately reap what they sow – worthless money..! If they screeched as hard for this as they do against hunting and killing animals, they’d have considerable success.

    Ultimately voting populations need to know the benefit of sustainable utilization of wildlife as a product of the land and just how economically important hunting is to sustainable harvesting of wildlife products. But that’s a pipe-dream whilst politicians regard it as their resource.

    Screeching to us Africans about ethics and morality of killing animals falls on deaf ears, just like it does in Asia. We don’t regard it as immoral or unethical to kill animals. That’s a Eurocentric notion which exists mainly in USA and UK. Even Scandinavians don’t share that notion because they hunt flat-out.

    The importance of wildlife conservation is where it fits in with the conservation of biodiversity generally, because that affects mankind’s ability to survive on earth. Destroy biodiversity and mankind is on a slippery slope downhill. All the emotive anthropomorphic claptrap about poor animals is a sideshow. Animals are essential for the maintenance of biodiversity and for mankind’s life support.

    Therefore ensure they’re harvested sustainably and get on with it.

    To this end, in the interests of conservation of biodiversity, if corrupt politicians can be persuaded to conduct their wildlife harvesting sustainably (even if in a corrupt manner according to Eurocentric perceptions) that would be better than doing so unsustainably. It would buy time for conservation of biodiversity and make that independent of political considerations.

    One of the ways to do that is for the world to legalize the trade in wildlife products, provided it’s done sustainably, whether in a corrupt manner or not. There are many other ways to consider. But it’s not a solution to try to stop hunting or killing or trading of wildlife because one has an emotive personal prejudice against it. That won’t ensure wildlife conservation because it won’t happen. Kenya’s anti-hunting policy and the decrease in rhino populations in Africa is proof of this. Now that they’ve banned hunting, watch Botswana join the destruction statistics.

    The explosion of South Africa’s wildlife numbers (including rhino) due to hunting economics and the same in USA, is sufficient proof that sustainable harvesting of wildlife promotes conservation.

    Please keep up your interest in this subject.

    Kind regards,
    John Rance
    TGA President

    Reply

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