Skip to content

Paradise is finite – a lesson a long time in the learning, and yet to be learnt by some

March 17, 2017

170px-RJCunninghamMy latest article. Published in The Daily Maverick in South Africa.

Interesting facts about the origins of African conservation that shows it was the British who brought the black rhino to the critically endangered levels from which they have never recovered.

The hunters recognising that game was becoming scarce, was the reason the British and Europeans took measures to conserve Africa’s wildlife – treating game as a treasure of the Empire.

Rhino horn trade was linked to the ivory trade and slave trade in the 19th century. The Ivory Trade was dominated in East Africa by Indians and Arabs with the tribes doing the hunting. Whether ivory was for Western or Eastern end-markets it was nearly always carved in China, but rhino horn was always for the Orient: for carving in Yemen or carving and medicine in China and parts of Asia. In the lead-up to the 20th century the British took over the trade from the Arabs and Indians and the tribal hunters who over 100 years had reduced rhino/elephant populations drastically. The Brits, Europeans and American industrialists claimed the rhinos and elephant for sport, for trophies, but still supplied the Asian trade for much needed cash. Africans were jammed out. While the Brits put regulations in place to try and stop the most bloodthirsty “sportsmen”, hunting didn’t become illegal till CITES in the 1970s and only certain aspects. The Asian brokers, middlemen and end-market have been continuous factors for over two centuries in the hunting of rhino whether legal or illegal. Now the hunting is done either legally as deigned by the conservation sector specifically CITES (which was formed in Washington) by sportsmen or pseudo-sportsmen (trophy hunting is not seen as trade) or illegally by rogue South Africans both black or white. But the Asian middlemen and end-markets have persisted. In my article I am suggesting that certain mindframes exist, particularly among indigenous South Africans and Africans and Asians, as a result of Western nations’ earlier role in reducing rhino populations to critical levels, then appearing to reserve hunting of rhinos for sportsmen.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: