Opinion

“The Poaching Stops When the Rural People of Africa Have Reason to Stop It"

The conservation of Africa’s natural ecosystems and Her wildlife is, rather obviously, dependent on :

* the protection and management of wild areas;
*
the socio-economic development of rural communities living with wildlife;
*
economic enterprise based on sustainable utilisation of wildlife and renewable natural resources; and
* international collaboration to eradicate corruption, illegal harvesting and wildlife trafficking.

It is the practical interpretation and application of these conservation fundamentals that remains diverse, and often divisive. The result, all too frequently, is that resources, desperately needed for so many aspects of the conservation and rural development effort, are squandered in the pit of dogma, egos and, cynically, personal lifestyles built on donor funding.

If wild landscapes and wildlife are to survive in Africa, then communication, collaboration and cooperation between conservation stakeholders; the coordination of their efforts and the logical prioritisation and application of financial, material and intellectual resources, are not negotiable. 

There are some encouragingly successful examples of what needs to be done, being done, which suggest that there is still a realistic opportunity to reverse the trend of disappearing wild land and wildlife. It does, though, require considerable investment and innovation in dealing with the most fundamental of issues - notably, the limitation of human population growth and the transformation of the concurrent, unsustainable demand for land and natural resources.

For the rural communities living with wildlife, or adjacent to wildlife protected areas, that means well-planned and financed land-use and socio-economic development based on their renewable natural resources, particularly wildlife (The African Conservation Investment Imperative). Without these ecologically sustainable and economically viable land use and development options, that include wildlife; those communities will choose alternative paths, and Africa’s wildlife will essentially be consigned to memory in the demand for that land "for the cow and the plough”.

David Peddie
October 2017

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”  
Aldo Leopold

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Listed in “Archive” are a series of essays on conservation and rural development issues and on approaches to resolving them. Some are my own opinion, and based on what knowledge and experience I may have accumulated over the years. Others are opinions, which I may or may not agree with, but which are valid and worth being heard in the discussion to find positive and pragmatic solutions to these issues.

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Curriculum Vitae                                                   Conservation    Community    Commerce    Culture                                      © David Peddie 2017