Soukous

The future of Africa's wildlife lies in private hands

11 posts in this topic

I was talking to a young ranger recently and he said to me that the future of Africa's wildlife was now entirely dependent on private initiatives and private funding.
This is a young guy; university educated, highly motivated and passionate about his country's wildlife, yet he could see no other way forward.
Thinking about it, there is a certain indisputable logic to what he said.
African governments face so many pressing problems; growing populations, unemployment, disease, education, inter tribal tensions, that put severe pressure on their finances that conserving wildlife is rarely high on their list of priorities.
Their future in government lies in the hands of their citizens; it is not the wildlife that will keep them in power.
The only way they can justify devoting funds to wildlife conservation is if it can be shown to bring in revenues that exceed the expenditure. There are very few countries where this is a possibility.
In an ideal world all Africans would care about their continent's wildlife but the reality is that most of them have far more pressing issues to contend with.
In the majority of cases the interest in Africa's wildlife comes from foreigners; tourists, conservationists and NGOs, rather than from the continents own citizens, so too the majority of the funds raised for conservation.
Africa's parks and reserves are pretty much dependent on philanthropy for their survival.
What do you think Safaritalkers?
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South African?

If private entities can show that wildlife brings in money, why can't governments do the same?

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I would suggest the young ranger's premise is flawed,Africa being quite a large place with differing levels of wealth and different conditions. One might suggest that private interests which could range from profit making concerns to ngo's and charities cannot operate without some government support or at least tacit agreement. One might also make a similar point about UK Wildlife at present that would be in a much worse position without private support

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Posted (edited)

South African?

If private entities can show that wildlife brings in money, why can't governments do the same?

 

because, most African governments are :

 

a - corrupt

b - inefficient

c - lacking motivation to do anything for anyone but themselves and their cronies

d - must, quite rightly, prioritise their citizens above their wildlife

Edited by Soukous
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I agree a lot. Especially if to take into account that in a lot of cases government has to be pushed a lot for any change. There are already quite a few excellent examples of private effort: conservancies in Mara, private reserves in Okavango delta, private reserves near Kruger, Tswalu, Phinda, etc. But not only, a lot of good bans (e.g. whitecoat seal hunting) started with private campaigns

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Very interesting topic ...

 

I tend to mostly agree with this, but not wholly - for example the Botswana government takes wildlife protection very seriously (though of course there are a few questionable decisions here and there and of course the current mindset is not guaranteed should there be a change of leadership)

 

I think the private entities treat their reserves like an asset and a business - so they are obviously going to do much more to protect it and manage it properly. Conservation efforts compete with many other businesses interests when it comes to National Parks. Just think about the threat of the Serengeti highway to one of the most prestigious and well known national parks in the world! And many other similar examples.

 

At the end of the day though, we really need both - some private reserves will almost be like glorified zoos should national parks disappear (too small, too fragmented from each other and possibly fenced), especially those that nowadays serve as buffer zones for National Parks. Also, there isn't too much scope for new National Parks too, but perhaps more private reserves are more likely.

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Posted (edited)

This is an over simplification which is putting things in black and white.We all agree that the private reserves are increasing but to say there is no future in national parks is not true. There are increased scope for them.However, to say that Africans have neglected wildlife because they have other priorities is a complete nonsense!.Africans understand the income due to wildlife and tourism are very essential to their economies especially jobs.They also know that excessive reliance on commodities has been disastrous for Africa. Therefore,they know that the African countries have to diversify. The fact that the Tanzanian government wasn't able to build the highway though the Serengeti, shows how the African government due to the need to preserve wildlife.

 

While there may not be more scope for new national parks for wildlife, more countries and more areas are increasingly open to wildlife and tourism. African government increasingly realize that there is much money to be made in wildlife and tourism.Let us look at all the examples here at Safaritalk.

Edited by optig
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After having lived in Kenya for 3 years I have met many Kenyans that have been on safari generally to Maasai mara.I am delighted to say that they love it as much as everyone else. They also realized that they have a great legacy not just to leave to the future generations but to the world. They are also beginning to understand that they have the worlds best classrooms to teach: biology,chemistry,botany,physics,African development,economics,the increasing role of technology in Africa,culture,history and so much else. We can all appreciate that in Botswana the kids in schools are taken to national parks during off season. Private schools in Kenya are also increasingly doing the same.

 

I feel that African interest in their wildlife can only grow because they are becoming better informed of the importance of it. I have also met a lot of Africans that would love to be able to visit their national parks.I feel strongly that as the Kenyan middle class grows in size and spending power, more Kenyans will go on safari; this will be especially true of families.

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Posted (edited)

"Until Governments actually do something", I believe we have to encourage private enterprise to continue doing what appears to be a good job in most cases. I think The Mara triangle, http://maratriangle.org/, Ol pejeta (http://www.olpejetaconservancy.org/) conservancies are good examples. Also community projects like Loisaba (http://www.loisabaccf.org/). I am not so familiar with southern Africa, but I am sure there are many like minded projects there also.

At the end of the day, someone has got to take responsability for the wildlife.

Edited by PHALANX

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I agree a lot. Especially if to take into account that in a lot of cases government has to be pushed a lot for any change. There are already quite a few excellent examples of private effort: conservancies in Mara, private reserves in Okavango delta, private reserves near Kruger, Tswalu, Phinda, etc. But not only, a lot of good bans (e.g. whitecoat seal hunting) started with private campaigns

 

There are also a lot of non private areas with good wildlife populations (CKGR, Kruger, Kgalagadi, South Luangwa, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Zakouma, community conservancies in Namibia, Moremi, Chobe, Mana Pools etc). There are few large private areas which run well (Bubye, Save) but even those are too small to sustain, for example, populations of African wild dogs.

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