Conservation vs Preservation – Bringing Clarity to the Confusion

In the context of the natural world ‘Conservation’ and ‘Preservation’ are the two essential arms of ‘wildlife management’.

They are not synonyms because they each have a distinct and vital purpose. It is incorrect to believe that ‘conservation’ is just another word for ‘wildlife management’ because that is not the case at all. ‘Conservation’ is, in fact, subjugate to management because it represents only one arm (or function) of the management activity.

Wild animals occur in different populations. Some populations are SAFE (numerous and breeding well) others are UNSAFE (small in number and shrinking). UNSAFE populations are on the road to local extinction.

SAFE populations can and should be harvested sustainably, in one or many different ways, every year. They can be culled and/or hunted without adversely affecting the SAFETY of the population – provided the ‘take off’ is sustainable; provided the take off does not exceed the population’s incremental rate; and provided the take off is repeatable year after year.

The wildlife management strategy that is applied to SAFE animal populations is called ‘conservation management’ and it implies sustainable ‘use’ or sustainable ‘consumptive management’ of one kind or another.

If UNSAFE populations are to be saved from extinction, they require the application of a man-conceived management strategy that ‘protects them from all harm’. It is called ‘preservation management’. The purpose of applying a preservation management strategy to an UNSAFE animal population is to make it, once again, SAFE. UNSAFE populations should not be used in any way by man.

The concepts of ‘Conservation’ and ‘Preservation’, therefore, are essential brother-sister wildlife management tools that cannot and must not be separated; yet the strategies have to be applied separately.

Wildlife management needs both strategies if it is to be complete.

We should, therefore, not call animal rightists (the anti-hunters) ‘conservationists’ OR ‘preservationists’ because BOTH those concepts are integral and vital parts of the holistic wildlife management philosophy.

Call them what they really are: abolitionists; hypocrits; fraudsters; eco-racketeers; and members of international organised crime. Why should we reduce their stature by calling them anything else!

See diagram.



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 279 posts and counting. See all posts by Ron Thomson

2 thoughts on “Conservation vs Preservation – Bringing Clarity to the Confusion

  • Thank you for explaining that the preservation of wildlife refers to unsafe populations that are struggling to survive. My husband and I want to be able to help some places in African since we love animals and wildlife. I think we should find a good African Wildlife Preservation company that we feel comfortable helping with a donation.

    • Dear Charlotte,

      I have just picked your email out of my “junk box”. How it got there I have no idea. But I am going to answer it now and right away.

      I am the CEO of an organisation called “The TRUE GREEN ALLIANCE” (TGA). We do not represent any single wildlife organisation but, rather, we support ALL GENUINE wildlife NGOs and government departments that are trying to do ‘the right thing’. And we expose all those who don’t.

      Our vision statement is:-

      To create a southern African (ultimately global) society that is properly informed about the principles and practices of wildlife management; that understands the wisdom of, and necessity for, the practice of sustainable utilisation of living resources (both wild and domestic) for the benefit of mankind; that supports animal welfare; and that rejects animal rights – the doctrine of which seeks to abolish all animal uses by man.

      We do not, therefore, support cruelty to animals; and we do not support ‘conservation’ programmes that base their so-called ‘facts’ on emotion. And we are totally opposed to the use of public referendums to determine wildlife management practices.

      In today’s world everybody – all over the planet – seems to be a self-proclaimed ‘expert’ in wildlife management affairs (especially in Africa). So the general public is being bombarded by a plethora of ‘personal preference opinions’ (based on nothing but emotion) and which have no validity in the truth. The TGA strives to impart only the truth – THE FACTS – about wildlife management to the general public. In doing so, it is our purpose to ensure that the general public will properly convince governments to put into practice wildlife management policies that are based on “The FACTS”. So we steer the public in the right direction.

      We understand that the public are important but we know that most people in society are not qualified to make wildlife management decisions – not UNTIL they learn to understand, and how to apply, the proper principles and practices of wildlife management (a.k.a ‘conservation’).

      May I now suggest that you have a look at the TGA’s website ( The TGA is a registered Non-Profit Company; and a Public Benefit Organisation.

      This should give you a pretty good idea what the TGA is all about; and I hope that you will agree that the TGA is a deserving recipient of whatever funds you might like to donate to us. We need every penny that we can raise.

      Please read the dissertations on the attached documents – which explain what and who we are.

      If you would rather donate to a project, we are busy trying to raise funds to make a film (or series of You Tubes) in which we intent to explain the management needs of elephants in Africa – as a service to the general public.

      I would be happy to communicate with you some more – to give you more information in more detail.

      I shall look forward to your response.

      With kind regards

      Ron Thomson. CEO – TGA


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