In the deal , NPB agreed to accept US$2.5 million (in five installments of $500,000.00 a year) from IF AW to purchase additional elephant habitat for Kruegar National Park on condition, among other things, that NPB expressly undertakes never to allow the culling or hunting of elephants or any other species of game on any land purchased by IFAW, in addition, the NPB undertakes not to submit a proposal to resume international trade in elephant products to CITES at the next COP meeting scheduled for 1997.
In conjunction with the agreement, the Humane Society of the United States offered another US$2.5 million to the NPB to seek viable contraceptive for elephants.
Eugene Lapointe, former secretary-general of CITES, roundly criticized the move, saying NPB had abdicated the sovereign rights of South Africa for a bowl of porridge.
Eco-Imperialism or Economic Salvation: The South African/lFAW Deal
An Interview with Eugene Lapointe President, International Wildlife Management Consortium
Former Secretary-General of CITES (1982-1990)
C.T: You served as the secretary general of CITES for almost a decade and were deeply involved in wildlife management policies in Africa. What is your assessment of the US $2.5 million deal between the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the South Africa National Parks Board?
E.L:The agreement is outrageous and unprecedented. Based on international practices and accepted principles of law, NPB has abdicated the sovereign rights of an entire nation for a bowl of porridge.
C.T: OK, why such strong opposition? It seems that this agreement would be good for South Africa by providing funds to expand national parks and provide more habitat for animals.
E.L: It will send shock waves through every country in Africa, and for that matter in any other country in the world, struggling to seek a balance between the needs of humans and the environment. It opens the political floodgates for extremists who are attempting to impose their ideologically-driven no use resource policies on an entire continent. This is nothing short of eco-imperialism.
- T: Supporters of the agreement cite eco-tourism as economic salvation for impoverished areas of Africa. Does this deal make good economic sense for these regions? Will it affect the culture of the societies impacted by it?
E.L: The eco-tourism in Africa envisioned by those backing the agreement is based on the values of activist groups such as HSUS and !FAW. This type of tourism carries the potential of destroying thousands of years of history while turning traditional communities into rurai ghettos and reducing their citizens to unwilling actors who are stereotyped, gawked at, and patronized.
C.T: Is this a component of a more extensive agenda? Where are such programs heading and why do you feel they are so dangerous?
E.L: It is frightening that there is no reference to the future of the African people in this agreement. To the contrary, all of the deal’s provisions give clear indications that these organizations found in South Africa fertile ground to continue their crusade against humans. There seems to be a fixation on improving the quality of death of certain animals by reducing the quality of life of human beings-which in many parts of Africa is nothing short of appalling.