Saturday, December 1, 2012

Poachers Turned Stewards of the Land

Namibia’s wildlife was on the brink of extinction when land ownership and fauna were turned over to non-native owners in the 1960’s. Indigenous Namibians were forced out of their land onto previously protected reserves and began poaching gazelles and zebras to keep their families fed though it was illegal.
There was a turn of events when poachers were asked to protect wildlife instead of hunting them. These people were skilled at tracking fauna and now they were receiving income for it. The numbers for it today shows favorable outcome in this “game guard” system.
The country currently hosts the world's largest population of free roaming cheetahs and black rhinos (where once they teetered on the edge of extinction). In the last decade, the elephant population has risen from around 13,000 to 20,000. In the northwest of the country, where lions were down to under two dozen, they now total roughly 130.
People on the land realized that wildlife was more beneficial alive than dead. Economically, the benefits came from venture tourism and trophy hunting. Inevitably, controversy arose around the legality of trophy hunting form animal rights activists, but the conservancy saw benefits.
Chris Weaver, head of the WWF-Na, said, “From my perspective, we're trying to conserve the species, not the individual animal, and this creates a benefit when it's done in a well-regulated fashion, and the benefits go to the local community."
Thoughts? For the full article please click here!
How Namibia turned poachers into gamekeepers and saved rare wildlife
By Daisy Carrington, for CNN. Tue October 23, 2012

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