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”.

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:

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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!

    • YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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