Food for thoughts from Yashar Ali …
- Sadly, I’ve been expecting this. Soon, I’ll be sharing what I’m doing to help mitigate this crisis
Threatened and endangered animals may become additional casualties of the pandemic
- This story is framed around how the loss of billions of tourism revenue is impacting the protection of wildlife. Poachers are encroaching on land they would have never gone to before now that tourists are gone and people are under lockdown.
- But what happens when African economies collapse and people (for understandable reasons) get desperate and start to look towards wildlife to earn revenue? People who have never engaged in poaching before.
- What happens when African governments who are members to CITES (global treaty that protects animals) get desperate & start selling endangered wildlife to the highest bidder? Countries like Zimbabwe have done that in non-pandemic times…what about now?
- Will African governments who are (understandably) desperate to generate revenue & employ their citizens lift hunting bans and sell hunting rights to the highest bidder? This is one of my big fears. There are always rich people who will want to hunt.
- In case you want to say that animals shouldn’t be prioritized right now let me assure you that this is not ultimately about animals (for me that is a majority priority…but it doesn’t need to be for you). This is about the health of African economies.
- For a century, the West (and most recently China) have looted African nations and taken their natural resources like diamonds, coltan, gold, and cobalt. But there is not an infinite amount of those resources anyway.
- Tourism is a critical element of many African economies. In South Africa, nearly 10% of South Africans are employed in the tourism industry and it brings billions into the South African economy. Wildlife/ecotourism is sustainable and can last forever, gold/diamonds don’t.
- No tourist flies to the Democratic Republic of Congo to see its coltan mines. They go to the DRC to see the gorillas and other wildlife in Virunga National Park. And tourism boosts other sectors of the economy
- A perfect example of what the killing of wildlife can do to an economy can be illustrated by what happened in Mozambique. During the Mozambican Civil War which lasted from 1977 to 1992, Gorongosa National park was ravaged by poachers and others
- It took decades to rebuild Gorongosa and it required a partnership w/ Greg Carr who poured tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the park which has (until CV) led to a steady rise in tourism in Mozambique.
Bottom line…wildlife in Africa = healthy, sustainable economy
Source: Yashar Ali
Personally I am against game trophy hunting. If you kill a deer to eat it that’s one thing… but Trophy Hunters are ridiculous and need to be stopped at all cost