Why can’t we today, sell without UN CITES agency restrictions; our earth-shattering quantities of ivory and rhino horn?
They are collectively worth hundreds of billions of US dollars on the African continent. Talk of an analogy of a mother or father who can’t buy his children a loaf of bread but has billions in bank account! When children ask why? He or she says our Western neighbours don’t allow me to use my money to buy you bread! Obviously, the children will say we have a seemingly very weak parent. Above all, they will note that they have seemingly very opressive and not progressive Western neighbours who can’t ‘leave us alone to use what we have – wildlife wealth through trophy hunting exports as well as ivory and rhino horn trade.’
Even God allows people to harvest and sell their wild wealth sustainably for their socioeconomic wellbeing. Most churches’ environmental policies allow and support sustainable use of wildlife. The Bible tell us that Esau was a hunter. Africans have hunted their wildlife since creation, before colonialism and after colonialism and wildlife has never gone extinct because they benefit from it and therefore look after it.
Sadly, if Western countries take away the African benefits from wildlife as the Joe Biden Administration intends to do, the Africans would rather start using their national parks for crops, livestock and mining so that they can sell commodities that don’t have the UN agency CITES restrictions. This is the damage that the Western countries are going to cause to African wildlife.
Let Africa use its wildlife sustainably so that it benefits from it and see the need to continue producing it and protecting it in national parks land bigger in size than some Western countries such as Belgium, Switzerland and France. Here we see Africa’s unrewarded commitment to wildlife conservation by setting aside big land for wildlife while most of its people don’t have enough land, even to build a house. It’s a sacrifice that should rewarded with wild trade.
The fate of African wildlife is in the hands of Africans. Therefore, the choice to convert our national parks to agriculture and mining is ours. That reaction would depend on whether the Western countries are going to ban trophy hunting imports from Africa and also continue to ban ivory and rhino horn trade.
The UN doesn’t restrict or ban trade in oil that causes global warming that is killing wildlife on the land, in the seas, oceans, rivers, dams and in the air, but continues to disadvantage Africa by restricting hunting and banning ivory and rhino horn trade. Trade not aid will save the COVID-19 pandemic hit and cash strapped African people and their wildlife.
In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in travel bans. This means tourism is not generating income for wildlife conservation. There is no money to save wildlife neither is there enough money to save Africans from the negative COVID-19 impacts on the continent’s health and socioeconomic wellbeing. This helpless situation (crisis) – in which both mankind and nature are threatened with death is Africa’s strongest argument ever, to sell its stockpiled and dust-gathering quantities of ivory and rhino horn.
The COVID-19 pandemic is currently killing Africans in large numbers. They are dying at a rate that is higher than the global average.
With Wildlife revenue currently not coming both from tourism and trophy hunting due to COVID-19 travel bans, most African governments have run out of money to pay for rangers or anti-poaching units.
Meanwhile, poaching syndicates have taken advantage of this weakness by increasing their poaching activities.
Therefore, Africa should now sell its stockpiled ivory and rhino horn whose collective value runs into hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars, in order to save its wildlife.
Trade Not Aid Will Save African Wildlife.
A Nelson Mandela of Africa’s wild trade should emerge from our African leaders now or never!
Johannesburg-based environmental journalist who writes & thinks independently