“I eat what I hunt, but I don’t need to hunt to eat.
Most of the people in Africa have to hunt if they want to eat”.
Only when Africa’s rural people benefit – financially, materially and significantly – from the wild animals that share their tribal lands, will Africa’s wild animals have any chance of survival.
ONLY when wild animals provide rural African communities with a better means of earning a living than they can achieve from farming cattle, sheep and goats, and mealies, will they begin to understand the true ‘value’ of ‘their’ wildlife.
Only then will they stop cutting down natural habitat to make way for their often wasteful subsistence agriculture. Only then will they reduce their domestic stock herds – for they will then realise that wildlife (either on its own or combined with tourism; or in controlled combination with conventional agricultural practice) can provide them with a better living and a better quality of life. And the elephant is the financial flagship that can ring this change and attitude about.
Extract from the book Mahohboh by Ron Thomson