You Cannot Manage Wildlife by Way of Public Referendums
Signing petitions that are pure propaganda designed to influence governments to institute wildlife management programmes of which certain segments of society approve, for example, is not the way that wildlife can and/or should be managed.
MIS-management occurs when a government – in blind compliance with the demands of CITES – insists on applying “preservation management” to each and every population of a so-called “ENDANGERED SPECIES”.
3 thoughts on “You Cannot Manage Wildlife by Way of Public Referendums”
Wildlife is our heritage and should be managed to ensure sustainability for future generations_educational ,protection and appreciation
Your viewpoint is an important contribution to our understanding with regards to why “management” is an essential ingredient of the battle to save our wildlife heritage.
Unfortunately many people have different interpretations of the meaning of the word “management” and its objectives and, nowadays, we have to spell out these issues to ensure the public receives and absorbs the correct information. The animal rightists, for example, believe that “wildlife management” (a.k.a. “conservation”) means “protection from all harm” and that the culling of excessive elephant populations (for example) should not be allowed. For anyone to intelligently approve the “management” of wildlife – any wildlife – therefore, he requires two clarifications: (1) A definition of the term “management” and (2). A specific management objective.
The first of these is easy to supply: “management is the action that man takes (or purposefully avoids) to achieve a man-desired objective”.
The management “objective”, however, can be many things. In a special black rhino sanctuary, for example, where improving the productivity of the black rhino population of that sanctuary is the priority management goal, a major management “objective” could well be the elimination of all spotted hyenas – because spotted hyenas kill an inordinate number of black rhino calves under natural multi-species situations. Another objective could be the capture and removal of a prescribed number of bulls to improve the male:female sex ratio – to improve cow productivity.
In a major national park like Kruger, however, where the primary management objective is (or should be) the maintenance of the park’s species diversity, massive elephant population reduction (advanced culling) should be (in my opinion) the priority management objective at this time – because excessive numbers of elephants destroy (and have destroyed) the essential habitats of thousands of other living organisms (plants and animals) in the park that cannot live without those “essential” habitats. The fact that Kruger’s excessive numbers of elephants (since c. 1955) have reduced the park’s top canopy trees by 95 percent (still counting), for example, is a totally unacceptable state of affairs – given the fact that maintaining the park’s biological diversity IS the mandate that was handed down to SANParks by the South African parliament a long time ago.
It is for considerations such as these that “public petitions” or “public referendums” – of which there are many examples right across the globe – cannot be (and should not be) used to influence governments to determine wildlife management programmes of any kind. A recent petition in Europe, for example, called on the European parliament to support the banning of all lethal elephant management practices in Africa – with the purpose of “saving” Africa’s elephants from extinction. The petition was signed by over one million gullible people who knew nothing about elephants and who had lived all their lives in the big inner cities of the European Union. What could be more nonsensical? I rest my case!