Maintaining High Value to Africa’s Wildlife is Crucial

CITES is now the biggest impediment to best practice wildlife management in Africa.
It is the animal rightists and CITES’ combined purpose to destroy international wildlife markets that should be making South Africa’s wildlife industries extremely prosperous. They are thereby removing all incentives for the establishment of sustainable wildlife utilisation programmes that can benefit the poor rural people of Africa and save Africa’s wildlife into posterity. If CITES succeeds, it will emasculate South Africa’s commercial wildlife industry, which needs reliable markets for its produce. The value of South Africa’s wildlife industry will then be reduced to what South Africans can make of it domestically.
The professional hunting industry should not feel complacent. The animal rightist NGOs are already well advanced in preparing for the destruction of the international trophy hunting industry, too. Trophy hunting is most certainly their next target for demolition!
Destroying wildlife markets will place Africa’s wildlife in serious jeopardy because that will render Africa’s wildlife valueless; and when wildlife has no value it will be impossible to uplift Africa’s rural people in any meaningful manner. At SC69, I questioned Scanlon’s stated desire to uplift Africa’s rural communities by way of promoting the people’s interaction with wildlife. How did he propose that we do that, I asked him, when he was busy devaluing Africa’s wildlife to zero? My very pertinent comment was off-handedly ignored! Maintaining high value to Africa’s wildlife is crucial to symbiotically integrate the needs of Africa’s people with the needs of the continent’s wildlife.
If Africa’s rural people cannot make a better living from the controlled and sustainable harvest of our wildlife resources, than they can get from their cattle, sheep and goats, and growing mealies (maize), they will opt for what they know best: cattle, sheep, goats and mealies. Our valueless wildlife will then be up against the wall and it will be decimated by the hordes of human beings (4 billion) that are expected to be living in sub-Saharan Africa at the end of this century. There are only 750 million today!

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

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