Wildlife Advocates We Must Prove Chris Mercer Wrong!

As always Animal Welfare Activist Chris Mercer tells it like it is. Asia’s illegal wildlife trade driving African wildlife species to extinction.

…….

 

Let’s prove Chris Mercer wrong. Let’s show him that we do care, that we can change and that we will stop the looting of Africa’s wildlife, endangered, threatened and all species from extinction.

What the Chumlong case has exposed about trophy hunting, wildlife trafficking and international crime syndicates…

Rhino Pseudo Hunter Gets 40 Years Jail: Random Thoughts

By Chris Mercer  (animal welfare activist and founder Campaign Against Canned Hunting)

The comments posted on social media about the 40 year prison sentence for Chumlong express unbridled schadenfreude. Rarely has a prison sentence kindled such joy in the world of conservation.

The 40 year prison sentence was a savage one for the rather technical offences for which Chumlong was convicted; after all, he was not a poacher; he only did what the trophy hunters do every day – get permits and pay the hunting operator. But the hunters want the whole severed head of the animal, whereas Chumlong only wanted the valuable horn. Hardly a good reason to describe hunters as conservationists, and to punish Chumlong with a 40 year jail term.

However I am advised that Chumlong’s syndicate also has links to ivory poaching, so if we add what he was not charged with to the equation, 40 years might well turn out to be too lenient.

The Chumlong case gives me no reason to feel good. Actually, it exposes a can of worms.

  1. Chumlong was part of a syndicate involving culprits from within South Africa as well as a network of foreigners. Yet only he has been punished. All the accomplices have gone free.
  2. The criminal justice system has been shown to be hopeless. All that the Chumlong case has done is to give confidence to wildlife criminals.
  3. The permit system has been exposed yet again as worse than most South Africans can even imagine. The quality of our conservation services are among the worst in the world – this fact verified by an international comparative study which ranked S.A. at 134 out of 138 countries.
  4. The light that this case shines on the hunting industry is not a flattering one. Every day rich white hunters inflict the same suffering on unoffending rhinos that Chumlong did – yet no one in our ethically illiterate conservation services speaks out against the licensed inhumanity. When are we going to follow the lead of more enlightened African countries like Kenya and Botswana and ban all sport and trophy hunting as a barbaric relic of colonialism?
  5. The ruthless Asian wildlife crime syndicates have clearly targeted Africa and they will loot our wildlife heritage to extinction. After the rhinos and the elephants will go the lions and any other species that have any commercial value. China and its satellites are a black hole in the conservation universe. Having emptied the forests of Asia, they are now starting to pillage the plains of Africa. Protected by strong political and economic connections with African governments, they will loot our wildlife to extinction. What is to stop them?

Thank you Chris. A bad situation, let’s raise our voices! Let’s support the efforts of US Secretary Hillary Clinton, wildlife conservation and activist organization, individuals and groups! Let’s support those like Chris (who speak out) and Peter (who work relentlessly in the trenches) to save the rhino and other endangered and threatened wildife species from poachers!

Let’s share and spread awareness!

Share This:

, , , , , , ,

10 Responses to Wildlife Advocates We Must Prove Chris Mercer Wrong!

  1. Stefan Fourie November 29, 2012 at 12:17 am #

    Let us hope we do not follow Kenya and Botswana’s example. Since hunting was banned in Kenya in the 1970’s, their wildlife has decreased by between 60 and 70%. Botswana’s infamous Chobe National Park will soon follow in the footsteps of the Tsavo East National Park where 65 000 elephants and 5000 Black Rhinos died due to a similar “no interference” management policy. Word is the Chobe Bushbuck is already locally extinct in the Chobe National Park. Mr. Mercer and his followers will not step up and claim responsibility after these events has come to pass, theywill lay the blame on someone else’s doorstep, just like the Sheldrick’s did.

    • Wildlife Margrit November 29, 2012 at 7:54 am #

      Thank you for commenting Stefan and for your insights, much appreciated.
      Sadly this whole wildlife conservation issue has gotten out of hand. The only solution it appears is if we could reverse the clock and never allow wildlife to be a commodity in any way. As soon as a price was put on fur, bones, horn, tusks, skin and other body parts the pillage began ions ago.
      Its not until we as humans give wildlife the respect it deserves will the exploitation stop.
      And that I know is an unrealistic fantasy… so we struggle on as best we can.

  2. Stefan Fourie December 2, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    I do not agree entirely with what you said. Yes in the past wildlife was over-utilized but the vast majority of animal extinctions have happened for other reasons, mainly habitat destruction.

    The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Recourses (The IUCN) was established in 1948 to supervise man’s sustainable use of the earth’s renewable recourses.

    In 1980 the IUCN, in partnership with a host of other organizations including WWF, published its mission called the World Conservation Strategy (WCS).

    The WCS described three objectives:

    1.) To maintain essential ecological processes and life support systems.
    2.) To preserve genetic diversity.
    3.) To ensure the sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems.

    The WCS is considered by many to be a blue print for the survival of both man and nature, the only one of its kind in existence.

    The mission was accepted and incorporated with many countries, including our own, modeling their own National Conservation Strategies on the WCS.

    Stopping all hunting the world over in all its forms is the animal rightist’s next big objective. Many of the public would support this movement because it is the publics believe that hunting has endangered and continues to endanger wildlife. All yesteryears extinctions are, more often than not, blamed on hunters. This distorts the truth. Although hunting had role to play is some extinctions in the past, the vast majority occurred for other reasons most notably agricultural development i.e. habitat destruction. Hunting has never been solely responsible for any extinction.

    Today hunting is regarded by many in the wildlife industry as the biggest and most successful conservation project in the African continent.

    Hunting has given wildlife commercial value. This commercial value has ensured that people take better care of their wildlife and their habitats. More than 7x the amount of wildlife that occurs in our National Parks are found outside their borders on farms/ranches where hunting occurs. Were it not for the financial support of the hunters neither this wildlife nor their homes would exist. It is important to realize that the term wildlife does not just include impala, kudu or warthog but a multitude of other species, genera’s, families, orders, classes, phylum’s and kingdoms.

    If hunting was not allowed to occur in Africa many habitats and all the species that they support would have been completely destroyed for agricultural development. This undoubtedly would have led to several more animal species becoming extinct.

    I would not place my faith in Chris Mercer if I were you. Chris Mercer is animal rightist and does not support the third WCS objective. In The Wildlife Society’s Final Position Statement on animal rights-ism they concluded that “the philosophy of animal rights is incompatible with science-based conservation and management of wildlife”. His concern does not lie with the preservation of our biodiversity but with the promo

    Let us review the rhino hunting incident in question.

    First of all understand that being in private possession of a rhino is no financial joke. I know one of these owners and I have seen the expenses he has to put up with to protect his rhinos. Electric fencing installation and maintenance, anti poaching patrols, dehorning, artificial water supply, feed during the dry season etc.

    Two-thirds of all Rhino bulls in an area will be dominant bulls occupying a territory which it will defend. The other third are referred to as “satellite bulls”. These bulls’ presence is tolerated by the dominant bull as long as they remain submissive. When a rhino bull loses his territory at an old age he will continuously be attacked by all the other bulls including the satellite bulls. His days are numbered. It therefore makes perfect sense for the rhino owner to cash in on a possible R900 000 (Hluluwe Game Reserve) instead of having it rot in the field. These bulls are, as part of the agreement with CITES, are past their reproductive use and of no further breeding value to the owner. An honest rhino owner (not the case here) can use the funds to upgrade fences, increase anti-poaching patrols, increase genetic diversity by introducing rhinos from other areas, obtain food for the rhinos during periods of drought, open up new waterholes or save towards obtaining neighboring grounds to provide more graze for the rhinos. This all makes perfect wildlife management sense.

    It is important that we support the private rhino owners as 23% of all SA’s rhinos are in private ownership i.e. 4600 rhinos. And there many more suitable habitats for rhinos in SA but the owners simply do not have the finances to support these animals.

    The concept of a legal rhino hunt is not what disturbs me, it is the lack of control and regulation that does. In many countries in Africa you cannot hunt without the company of a Game Parks Representative.

    One last thing. The opposition to legalizing the trade in ivory has finally reaped its rewards.

    Botswana’s wildlife has stared to come apart at the seams. The long expected population crash seems to be materializing. Thousands of elephants in Botswana are dying because of starvation, heat exhaustion, disease or mercifully predation.

    In 1960 scientists first reported that elephants were irreparably damaging their habitats, specifically the riverine forests of the Chobe National Park. The estimated number of elephants in Botswana at that time was around 7500. Today Botswana is home to 190 000 elephants, over 2500% what they could sustainably carry.

    The results of Botswana’s “no interference” management policy is that at least 11 other large mammal species have decreased by 60%, the Chobe Bushbuck is locally extinct in the Chobe National Park and elephants are “dying like flies.”In 1972/1973 a similar catastrophe played out in the Tsavo East National Park where a “no interference” management policy was also adopted. In 2 years 65 000 elephants and 5000 black rhino’s died.

    Those responsible for these management strategies will not stand up and claim responsibility. They will conveniently shift the blame on to drought, anthrax etc. A well known professor of the University of Pretoria has received sponsorships of close to R1 million from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (an animal rights organization who aims to abolish all sustainable animal use including pets) to promote their ideals, ideals which are now also being implemented in the Kruger National Park.

    Botswana will not be the same in our lifetime, in fact it may never be restored. The country’s ecological carrying capacity has been severely reduced indefinitely. This is YOUR wildlife heritage that some trading away for money.

    The primary goal of all our National Parks is the preservation of their biodiversity not to please some members of the public by adopting their wildlife management strategies and making one species more important than all the others.

    Place your faith in those whose priority is the preservation of our biodiversity and not the promotion of their OWN ideals.

    Yours sincerely

    Stefan Fourie

    • Wildlife Margrit December 3, 2012 at 4:43 am #

      Stefan thank you. First of all I thank you for being civil. As there are many schools of thought, many different viewpoints, various “scientific studies” and a lot of conflicting emotions around the topic of what’s true wildlife conservation, many folks get very irate and forget to have rational conversations.

      So I thank you for not lashing out, but simply supporting your argument with facts.

      I am uneducated in wildlife conservation personally, so our leanings are to support those that appear to make the most sense and probably not always what may be realistic as I’ve stated before.

      Although I agree with much of what you say, it makes little sense that if we as humans were to leave wildlife alone in a large enough habitat (WWF states that habitat loss is the biggest cause of wildlife loss, poaching second) they would survive just fine thank you.

      We humans have interfered horribly and made quite a mess of our planet on multiple levels causing problems not only for wildlife, but humans as well.

      I have no gripes with the game farmer who is about preserving wildlife, though I can hardly believe that anyone could have a private game ranch big enough to sustain a bio diverse ecosystem with all the necessary predators… thus the human predator arrives on the scene.

      Of course, much more remains to be said, however, bottom line I believe for both of us is, that we examine our hearts and try as best to work together to save what’s left of our wildlife… and my hat off to those farmers who try desperately to save their rhino. (Sadly, including farmer and rhino in the same context just doesn’t fit right… rhino, as all wildlife should be free… I am in Texas as I type, beautiful rugged state, with sadly a lot of exotic game farms, created not for conservation, but for the sport of hunting.)

      Wildlife conservation cannot be solely about the numbers, but like for us humans, must include quality of life, and living as we were intended by our Maker to live.

  3. Stefan Fourie December 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    Wildlife Margrit,

    I realized very early in my life, thanks to my father teachings, that heated and emotional arguments are to no one’s benefit. It especially does not help me reach my goals of changing people’s perceptions with regards to wildlife management.

    If you are not educated with regards to conservation and wildlife management then I suggest that you make a serious effort get educated. What I can recommend is that you contact Ron Thomson. Ron Thomson is legendary in Southern Africa’s wildlife industry. He was formerly Game Warden in charge of Hwange National Park and Gona-re-zhou National Park. He is a qualified ecologist and served as a Chartered Biologist for the British Institute of Biology. He authored many books, one of which is required study material for a higher diploma in Nature Conservation at TUT, and his booklet “MANAGING OUR WILDLIFE HERITAGE” may be of interest to you. Contact him on magron@ripplesoft.co.za. Costs are R80. This will help you understand the fundamental basics of wildlife management. Remember, wildlife management is a difficult study, one I have studied since I was 12 years old and strictly speaking, in comparison to Ron Thomson, I know nothing.

    Back to the issue at hand. Yes humans have fragmented and destroyed large stretches of habitat. You are correct in recognizing the importance of this threat particularly with regards to sensitive species. But if we manage our wildlife on this basis that we have created a problem any wildlife management strategies implemented because of this is unaccpetable, then we WILL LOSE AND ARE LOSING the little we have left. We now have the responsibility to manage the little we have left responsibly and with the primary goal of preserving biodiversity.

    In the case of hunting, vast stretches of habitats needed to sustain wildlife would not have remained intact if it were not for the financial support of hunters. Those habitats and all the wildlife they support would have been destroyed. And do not think that because most farms where hunting takes place does not support lions and spotted hyaenas that they do not support unique and diverse ecosystems. One farm on which I have hunted since 2007 I have encountered leopard, aardwolf, brown hyaena, jackal, serval, African wild cat, lappet-faced vulture, African harrier hawk, black mamba, puff adder, scorpion, geckos etc. I could type a whole page and that is just for one hunting destination. The lion and spotted hyaena are what overseas tourists want to see and when they do not they wrongly assume that no wildlife or ecosystems exists.

    What I will further say is that respect your right not to hunt, but I ask the same favor from you. I also ask that you do not ignore hunters contribution in wildlife management and conservation just because you do not like it. Wildlife management strategies should after all not be classed on a like and dislike basis but on a what best preserves our biodiversity. And just so you know it was a newsletter for hunters and by hunters that led me to this website in the first place. The story of Dr. Fowlds, a story that was spread by hunters all over SA, just like you asked.

    And I warn you once more. Do not side with Mercer and his ilk. They are not concerned with the preservation of wildlife only the promotion of their own ideals. In the article above he states he whishes SA would follow Botswana and Kenya’s lead. Can you honestly say after what you read that their wildlife is better of than ours?

    Some excerpts from a Botswana newspaper. You can thank the IFAW for what is happening here.

    Kind Regards

    Stefan

    PARLIAMENT –
    The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism is aware of the growing number of elements and the impact that they are having on the environment.
    The minister, Tshekedi Khama, told Parliament last week that a number of studies have been conducted to ascertain the level of this impact, and how it can be mitigated, including how the numbers can be controlled.
    This, he said, has resulted in the government, with some help from the private sector, putting in place several measures to address the problem which includes the replacement of waterholes strategically in wildlife areas to draw elephants away from environmentally sensitive areas. Other measures include the use of electric fences, bees and chili pepper to deter elephants from human settlements.
    The minister said the creation of trans-frontier conservation areas to increase the land area where wildlife, including elephants, can roam freely without hindrance, are also one of the measures.
    “I can only confirm that elephants have started crossing into the Angolan side of the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) region which was initially inaccessible to elephants due to the Angolan civil war,” he said.
    Khama further said the ministry was working on an elephant management plan which will help in addressing some of the problems.
    Boteti North MP Slumber Tsogwane had wanted to know whether there was an environmental impact assessment study to determine the impact of the growing elephant population. He also wanted to know measures in place to control their numbers and possibly confine them to the game reserve. (BOPA).

    By Lets Open

    SAVUTI – Elephants in the Savuti marsh area are being hunted and killed by lions as anthrax takes hold in the Savuti and the Chobe National Park.
    The elephant population has been depleted in the Chobe, researchers, conservationists and local safari guides said due to heat and shortage of water in some places during lengthy movement of elephants from one place to the next had been a contributing factor as well.
    In addition, poachers are tracking sickly elephants and killing them for their ivory tusks. Six bodies of elephants were found in Shaile, Satau and near the old hunting area No 6 situated near Kachikau. Some of the bodies were found without tusks.
    Poaching activities are reported with wildlife such as like rhino, giraffe, buffalo, zebra and plainsgame killed by poachers either from the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, Botswana or Zambia.
    The poachers are technical to the extent that they sometimes load bundles of dried fish on top of elephant tusks as a way of concealing the tusks inside heavy man-made sacks. The poachers sell the tusks to dealers in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo for export to the Far East.
    Anthrax-affected elephants in most cases come from Linyanti, Kwando and other areas of the park. Safari guides explained that elephants die while in search of water and palatable vegetation.
    “They are dying like flies,’ said guide Gologota Baboledi travelling in the Chobe last weekend with Italian and Spanish tourists.
    Other sources say lion, jackal, hyena, caracal, other cats and crocodiles along river sources are also eating dead elephants which had died while drinking water.
    There is a virulent smell all over it is common to see at least 4 to 5 lions lying under a tree dealing with their own elephant and another pair within a short range doing the same thing, said another guide. Although foreign tourists enjoy taking pictures of the horror issue, it remains the saddest ordeal for Chobe elephants in decades. It seems worse than ever before as anthrax didn’t claim large numbers of elephants as currently. Due to unreliable rainfall, anthrax is common within some areas of the park but it is minimised by heavy rains. However, when it is absolutely dry like it is now, the situation is worse – particularly in Savuti and in the Mababe Depression. Independent researchers, veterinarians and conservationists say the heatwave had been devastating to wildlife in general.

    CENTRAL KALAHARI –

    Plainsgame in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), are dying as a result of excessive heat in areas such as those around New Xade. In recent weeks, three hartbees, 5 wildebeest and gemsbok were found dead. It has meant an abundant meat supply for predators such as like hyena, lion, jackal, vultures and other raptors, says Xuxuri Xaike, a prominent member of the Basarwa tribe. Other sources within the CKGR at Mothomelo said antelope migration in the Kalahari this year has been affected by dramatic weather conditions. The heat and lack of vegetation and water have contributed to the situation. Predators over the night keep on tracking thirsty and defenceless antelope which die along the way. Motlhanka Kalante, another resident of the same settlement, expressed deep shock at poaching activities conducted by some Basarwa in the area. Kalante argued that “it is quite disturbing for people to keep on poaching while our government is working to build schools, houses, clinics and other social amenities within this game reserve. “Our government is willing to improve lives of this forgotten tribe. Their children are taken to schools at the expense of the government, while adults around CKGR settlements are given livestock,” Kalante added.

    • Wildlife Margrit December 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

      Thank you for your recommended reading Stefan and your invitation to reach out to Ron Thomson. As you can see I am giving you uncensored “air time” as I, like you believe we all should be allowed to speak our mind, civilly and agree to disagree on some issues for at the very same time we we may well find we are in agreement on others. The latter may be what is most crucial.

      I am most grateful that the ebook POACHED! The tragic story of Dr. Fowld’s heroic attempts to save Geza is being circulated across boundaries, that despite our differences as wildlife lovers, advocates, activists, farmers, conservationists etc. we can all weep for the rhino (and Dr. Fowlds) then stand together to end the poaching. You see Stefan, organized crime has one up on all of us “good guys”… they’re organized, and until we can “bury the hatchet” and focus on our commonalities, namely to end the illegal trade, the “bad guys” will continue to win.

      May I ask how you see the trafficking of wildlife best stopped? I am seriously interested in your view point.

  4. Stefan Fourie December 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Wildlife Margrit,

    In order to solve any problem you first need to understand the causes of that problem. To do this it is imperative that you gain some insight into the African people’s relationship with their wildlife.

    First of let me explain why poaching is a threat to wildlife. Poaching is uncontrolled and unregulated. It is not confined to a specific species, sex or age. A snare may set for a kudu and instead end up with a Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, a pregnant rhino cow can and frequently do fall victim to poaching. The killing method is usually inhumane. Few and far in between is poached animals that die with a single bullet or minimal suffering.

    Game Reserves and Parks were once home to native tribes. These people were forcefully removed from the Parks. These people now live on the border of these parks in extreme poverty. These people poach in order to survive. It is called subsistence poaching and it is by far the most common form poaching in Africa. It is easy to judge these people but would you do anything different if your family was starving?

    I believe that poaching can be reduced but it can never be stopped in entirety. A plan set forth by former Game Rangers and Game Wardens is that if the people were to benefit from the adjacent wildlife they may be less inclined to poach.

    All Parks and Reserves will eventually exceed their ecological carrying capacity for a specific animal population. This population needs to be reduced to prevent a loss biodiversity. The Kruger National Park was considered capable of supporting 3500 elephants, it now has a population of over 18 000. At least 14 500 elephants needs to be culled. An elephant weighs on average 4 – 5 tons (Some even 7 tons). This meat can be used to either feed the people (72 000 tons of elephant will feed a lot of people) or create jobs to process the meat. Skins can also be processed and sold as elephant leather is an extremely expensive commodity. This can apply to many animals such as impala The community can then be used as a first line of defense against poaching. People living in these communities know everyone’s business (That is the African way) and they will know who is poaching and who is not. The theoretic solution is then to integrate the needs of the Park with the needs of the community. The carrot (the meat, jobs, money) is then combined with a stick that significantly reduces the benefit a community receives should a member of that specific community be found poaching.

    This solution is not nearly as “theoretic” as I just made it out to be. It has in fact been implemented in Gona-re-zhou. The Game Warden in charge, John Osborne, published this strategy and its results in a book. In this book he told the tale of a woman’s husband that was injured while trying to poach buffalo. He was so scared to return home to his wife and community that he asked his accomplices to bury him alive. This they did because did not want the community to suffer because of their actions as this would mean severe punishment for them, possibly even death (This is Africa).

    In Botswana and elsewhere ass per the CAMPFIRE project half of the meat of every animal that has been hunted is to be donated to the communities in the wildlife areas. The trophy fees are also used to help with infrastructure and health care. These communities are not allowed to keep livestock because of the potential for diseases such as the Foot-and-mouth, bovine tuberculosis to spread. The meat supplied by hunters are these peoples only source of meat. Now that hunting has been banned in Botswana these people will be forced to poach to survive. (Thank Mercer for that).

    Ron Thomson recently wrote speech with this and specifically rhino poaching as the main topic. If you want I could email it to you. I cannot cover every aspect of this plan, he did.

    As an aside let us compare poaching to hunting. Hunting is controlled and regulated. Only safe animal populations are hunted. The ecological carrying capacity is established and quotas are determined to ensure that an animal population does not exceed this. The animals hunted are usually old and past reproductive use. It is important for breeding success and genetic diversity that these animals are hunted. The killing method can not be described as any crueler that what takes place at an abattoir. Animals are hunted in natural habitats and the vats majority are killed with a single shot often without knowing the hunter is even there.

    Regards

    Stefan

    • Wildlife Margrit December 5, 2012 at 5:21 am #

      Thanks Stefan. You address the traditional poaching of wildlife. The hunting for food that has gone on since the beginning of time. I agree, that unless everyone becomes vegetarian that will never change.

      The type of poaching I was inquiring about is the industry of poaching. The illegal trade, the crime syndicates that now steal and sell wildlife and its parts like any other lucrative commodity, including guns and drugs. This is the poaching I refer to. The much larger crime than locals poaching a few impala to survive.

      I speak of the organized infiltration of corruption that is not only fully present in South Africa, but the same organizations that stripped much of the Philippines (which I’m very familiar with) of its rain forests and wildlife.

      If we are to save the rhino, elephants, lions and all “valuable” wildlife of Africa we must forget our differences and come together to address the much deeper trouble South Africa is in. As US Secretary Hillary Clinton stated in her recent remarks to the State Department, wildlife trafficking has become a matter of security and economic viability for many countries. In my mind if not only South Africa’s wildlife, but its people are to survive it is this scourge of CRIME, organized, illegal trade of all kinds, that must be addressed.

      So whether you, I, Chris Mercer, Ron Thomson and who ever else agree or disagree on the issue of hunting becomes a mute point. Because once the valuable wildlife is gone what will be the next commodity the syndicates turn to?

      You see Stefan, South Africa is my homeland, I love the bush, the wilds, the magnificent animals and birds, many of them endemic to Africa and it breaks my heart to see it all disappear, as I have witnessed the aftermath when it is all gone and it ain’t pretty. The Philippines once a gorgeous country is now impoverished because of the exploitation.

      So that is why Stefan, I ask you and I and others who have differences in how wildlife should be conserved to set them aside for a season so that together we can address the much larger scary issue of organized crime that is ravaging Africa.

  5. Stefan Fourie December 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Hi Wildlife Margrit

    Sorry that my reply has taken so long. I have been a bit busy, happy to be chatting with you again.

    You are absolutely right to be concerned about the illegal wildlife trade. It is second only to the illegal trade in drugs.

    I have to admit, I am little bit out of my depth when it comes to halting the illegal trade of wildlife around the world. I have a theory, if you’d be willing to listen.

    Above I explain that each country has its own unique relationship between its people and its wildlife. This relationship will be dependant on many different factors. As explained the reason why poaching is so prevalent in our beautiful country is because of poverty, the very people responsible for the poaching originating from the Park themselves. Based on this we have compiled a plan to stop it. And so each and every country will have there own unique causes for the illegal trade in wildlife and a unique cure.

    I do not understand USA’s relationship with their wildlife, neither do I understand Australians relationship with their wildlife (etc.) so I cannot give you a satisfactory solution for the illegal wildlife trade worldwide. My personal opinion is that every country will solve their problem in a different way.

    One major stumbling block is the emotions of the public. Today the public consider it their right to dictate to people who have studied wildlife and wildlife management what is right and what is wrong. They feel that by virtue of them watching wildlife documentaries and reading an article or 2 on their PC, they are knowledgeable enough to state to our Game Rangers and Wardens how they should manage wildlife. In what world they live in I am not sure, but surely reading an article on brain surgery does not make you a brain surgeon. Wildlife management is a difficult study, a study that will occupy the rest of your life. All the facts need to be considered before a wildlife management strategy is judged. The public classify wildlife management strategies on a like and dislike basis and in doing so they unintentionally place their own feelings/emotions ahead of the well being of wildlife. Can you think of the public’s reaction to the plan to stop poaching in Southern Africa? Would you accept it if it were to dramatically reduce poaching? Of course YOU would, but would they? Why must their feelings be placed ahead of the wildlife we are trying to conserve? You see the problem?

    I’d happily stand shoulder to shoulder in the battle for our wildlife with people like you, and I hope you would do the same. After all our goals are the same namely the preservation of earth’s biodiversity. But will Mercer and his followers stand alongside me in that battle? I have no doubt that they would not. And why would they when you consider their goal is not the preservation of the earth’s biodiversity but the promotion of their ideals. It’s not about my ideas vs. their ideas, at least not to me. It is about employing the strategies that will best protect our wildlife, whether I (or they) like it or not.

    Now I want to thank you for having an open minded discussion with me. I have been called a lot of things in my short life for trying to change people’s perceptions. I have even been accused of bragging when I included the binominal name’s of some animals that I used in my discussion to try and explain my point. So thank you.

    I have some very interesting documents regarding wildlife management on my PC that I think you will find of interest (including a very detailed paper dealing with rhino poaching and a parallel drawn with an animal of South America). If you are interested in reading these documents please email me at sfourie13@gmail.com.

    Lastly I’d like to stress what an important job this website has. You have over 1800 likes. It is this websites responsibility to give all the relevant facts to its followers so they themselves can form an educated and considered opinion.

    Kind Regards

    Stefan

    • Wildlife Margrit December 25, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      Thanks Stefan… emailed you regarding the documents.Yes, individual emotions do get in the way. As far as each country solving the problem… partly agree. Each country has to address the stand they take against illegal trade. However, on the other hand as it crosses borders it becomes an international problem and at some level has to find a systematic way of handling the issue. One reason organized crime is so successful is because the syndicates are just that… organized.

Leave a Reply